Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Facebook Changes

The Complete Idiot's Guide to FacebookFacebook made a big stir today by announcing Skype video chat via Facebook. There's no need to install any plugins ahead of time--someone can call a Facebook friend, they click a link, and 20 seconds later, they're chatting. This is cool, and it seems to be a direct response to Google+, Google's new social media venture. The difference is that while Google+ is just starting out, Facebook is already populated with all of your friends. The video chat was one thing Google+ had that Facebook didn't--and now that just got smashed. So . . . I'm not sure if Google+ will have enough to distinguish itself and make it important enough for people to jump ship from Facebook.

The thing about social media is that it only really works well when it's done on a massive scale. You go to where the people are, and you tolerate the interface. As long as the interface stays relatively useful, you stick with what you've got. Persuading all of your friends to jump ship is difficult if not impossible. Still, I want Google+ to succeed, if only because increased competition usually brings about an increase in product quality as well.

Facebook also announced a slicker Group Chat interface, which should help bolster that for Facebook, too. It's all easy to use--at least from the look of it. Better yet, you don't need to know how to do anything to set it up--someone can invite you to video chat, you click a "yes" button, and you're off and running. Finally, it promised a "better chat interface tool" that I want to see before I believe.

Certainly a lot of promises--they're supposed to be rolling out in the next few weeks, so keep an eye on your Facebook account to see for yourself.

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