Ever since Microsoft announced that they would be acquiring Skype back in May, we've always been wondering if the company's other IM clients would take a back seat. According to multiple sources, that looks to be the case, because it's rumored that Microsoft will be shutting down Windows Live Messenger in order to focus more on Skype.
This morning the folks at AT&T have made it clear that they will indeed be blocking Apple's FaceTime usage over their 3G network unless users switch to their new data plan, and have defended this move with a reiteration of an FCC rule on the subject. The FCC has a rule in place that keeps carriers from blocking applications that compete with their own - but because AT&T does not have an application that competes with FaceTime, they've made it clear that they feel justified in this situation. AT&T representative Bob Quinn spoke up today with assurances that criticism of this move by the carrier is nothing more than a "knee jerk reaction" on the part of users.
Google continues to integrate their system in an ever-tightening web of connectivity with video chat for Gmail. This video chat comes in the form of Hangouts, the same system that's currently working in their social network Google+. You'll be able to use this chat system without signing up for a Google+ account, but Google is encouraging you to do so anyway, of course, for "even more" special features than you'd get without such an account.
This week the folks at Airtime have started a company on just a measly $33.5 million in funding and the help of celebrities ranging from Snoop Dogg to Martha Stewart, hoping that Facebook-connected video chat will bring them big bucks starting extremely soon. This is a chat service that connects you with people you know and/or have similar interests to your own, this taking the "oops, that person is naked" factor out of what was once a very successful Chat Roulette.
Mozilla has been experimenting with integrating social features directly into its Firefox browser, recently demoing a built-in video chat service. The web app uses the open-source WebRTC standard to establish the video call connection and a SocialAPU add-on, built on Javascipt and HTML for audio and video streaming capabilities that previously relied on proprietary plugins, such as Flash.
If you used Google Talk, Facebook Chat, imo, or any other data-based social messaging platform on your phone, congratulations. You helps reduce the pockets of mobile providers by nearly $14 billion. That's the number that analytics group Ovum came up with, saying the rise of instant messaging apps is killing what is one of the highest margin line items on any cell phone bill. And it isn't just text messaging. New apps that allow users to place calls without using any plan minutes are also on the rise.
The social network known as Google+ has once again shown another tiny improvement set to make big waves, and it's got us all thinking that Skype may be on its way out alongside all over enterprise conferencing systems. Google+ Hangouts (the On Air version) now has a Full Screen button, this allowing you to turn your entire monitor into your conferencing station. While Skype and other conferencing systems have had similar functionality to this for a while now, Hangouts ability to use virtual whiteboards and screen sharing have the potential to put the competition out of business.
It's time for a paradigm shift in video chatting, all you gigantic television owners, as telyHD is now working with Skype to bring the most popular video chatting platform to the living room on your HDTV, right where it aught to be. Right now telyHD already uses 720p HD video and high quality audio, and with Skype integration you'll be able to connect with anyone that has Skype available on their own device: this including everything from home computers to laptops to smartphones! There's no need for a computer aside from the telyHD set-top device on your end, and there's no monthly fees! Set this monster up in 10 minutes and you're on your way to chatting with grandma halfway across the world in full high definition!
Cisco has axed its Umi video-conferencing system, finally recognizing that a $600 1080p telepresence setup is unlikely to find much traction among home users. "[We] decided to no longer sell Cisco Umi hardware as a consumer offering" the company confirmed to Business Insider, though those who picked up the three-piece video kit will still be able to use it.
Late last month I mentioned that there was a new video calling app that would be coming to Mango smartphones ahead of Microsoft's own Skype platform. That video calling app is called Tango and it is a cross platform app that will let users on different mobile operating systems share conversations. As of now, Tango is available for Mango smartphones.