Don't get me wrong before we start here, the ability to chat in a window inside Facebook with Skype's video capabilities is really neat. If they execute the plan correctly, it will almost certainly keep a lot of people inside the Facebook family where thousands of video-chat seekers may have otherwise run to Google+ for their brand new Hangout video chat program. What we've learned today, however, is that the Facebook team has seen what Google+ can do and that they understand that LOTS of people are thinking of Google+ as a real alternative to Facebook and that they wanted to know what Facebook thinks about Google+ as it stands today. They understand and they've certainly responded.
The talk today started with Mark Zuckerberg making a case for the idea that Social Networking has taken off, and that, though he did not say it implicitly, Facebook has been at the center of this revolution. His first relatively big announcement was that Facebook now has 750 million users, finishing this thought with a note that they'd held off sharing this statistic because he and the Facebook team don't feel that the amount of users on the network is the most important number anymore. This, at once, throws a rather important number in Google's face AND allows Zuckerberg to say that it's no big deal - so what, who cares? He goes on to say the amount that people share is the real big number.
Zuckerberg goes on to mention a new design for chat, that being a sort of AOL Instant Messanger-esque buddylist along the right of your screen, group chat, and of course Video Calling with Skype. After noting these three points, Zuckerberg says that they're releasing apps and programs like these one item at a time in small doses on purpose. Zuckerberg notes in what your humble narrator believes wholeheartedly is another jab at Google with their giant undertaking in Google+ form:
“Companies that focus will always do better than ones that try to do a million things" - Mark Zuckerberg
Philip Su is called onto stage and does a short demo of what Video Chat will look like on Facebook. Using this function will require a single-time download (per browser, we imagine) leading you to a one-button connection to whoever you want to video chat with via their profile. He makes a really rather pointed quote happen here that, you guessed it, again has at G+ for the umpteenth time:
“No separate accounts, no separate connections, on a network that already has all your friends on it.” Philip Su, Facebook Software Engineer
Tony Bates, CEO of Skype is called out of the crowd and delivers a set of words not unlike the pre-recorded message you see here:
You'll notice much excitement over lots of work done leading up to this precise moment in history. Did Skype and Facebook intend on announcing this collaboration before it was ready to launch in earnest?
Then came the whopper, inside the Q and A session, as asked by the lucky first questioner, a writer from Mashable, coming in the form of some sort of filler words in front of the bomb: “and what do you think about Google+”
Zuckerberg plays it cool and answers in a way that promotes moving forward rather than reacting to the Google+ mess we're all in:
“As far as the Google stuff goes, I’m not going to say a lot. The next 5 years are about building apps. A lot of companies that haven’t been social in the past, not just Google, will be building social apps. In some cases they’ll build on existing infrastructure, in some they’ll build their own. Facebook’s job is to stay focused.” -Mark Zuckerberg
Growth, accessing the userbase that Facebook already has, working with the friends you've already got, all of this for the greater good of the one TRUE social network, right? They've got their own movie for goodness sakes! The saga will continue to unfold, and RIGHT NOW via our Tabletpalooza contest where you'll have to connect to BOTH social networks to grab yourself a free Android dual-core monster.
Get to it!