Facebook had a press event today at which it had promised it would launch some ‘awesome' stuff.
The main launch was video chat, which regarding the user experience is essentially an extension of the chat functionality. The key thing Facebook seems to have got right is to make it a ‘one-click' experience, in which you can initiate a video call with any available contacts very easily.
The technology behind this new feature is offered in partnership with Skype, which was recently acquired by Microsoft, and the Skype CEO was also present. Facebook has set up an introduction page for video messaging and also a blog post, but remarkably for a video service launched by a social network, there was no way for us to share the video introduction with you.
The other launches were to enable group text chat and an improved site design to prioritize people you IM most. So the whole thing was all about messaging.
There was a bit of Q&A afterwards, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was asked what he thought of Google+. He mostly ducked the question, but said he thinks it's a validation of his view that everything's headed in a social direction. There were several references to how close Facebook and Microsoft are.