Opinion Brief

Is Facebook video chat really 'awesome'?

Not everyone is so sure that Mark Zuckerberg's Skype-integrated video chat is as groundbreaking and "awesome" as he says

Last week, Facebook head honcho Mark Zuckerberg teased that his company was about to "launch something awesome." On Wednesday, he unveiled the awesomeness, delivering a handful of new Facebook features. First and foremost among them, Skype video chat will be integrated into the mammoth social network. But, given the widespread availability of video chat on a number of platforms, some aren't so sure Zuckerberg delivered on his big promise. Is Facebook video chat really so awesome? (Watch an AP report about Facebook's new feature.)

Yes... from a business standpoint: This could be "really really sexy and exciting," says Patricia Handschiegel at Daily Patricia. The telecom industry is on edge of a major shakeup. With features like Skype-integrated video chat, "Facebook could become telecom competition, or even better for investors, a telecom acquisition." It's still early on, but change is imminent. "For almost a decade, carriers have kept voice calling via the internet mostly to themselves. Now, Facebook is going to put it at the fingertips of its hundreds of millions of users."Go Facebook go"

It's OK, but hardly awesome: This is "just another feature," and one few people will use, says Dan Costa at PCMag. Sure, Facebook's implementation is "pretty elegant," but video chat has been around a long time, on many platforms, from AIM to Yahoo Messenger to Skype itself. And, Facebook video chat doesn't even work on mobile devices. As I see it, the video chat audience is pretty much limited to people with children, and those who like to show naked pictures of themselves to others online. "There is no reason Facebook shouldn't include it… but I wouldn't call it 'awesome.'" "Facebook video chat: So what, big deal"

This is really disappointing: "To call this new feature 'awesome' is just delusional," says Casey Johnston at ARS Technica. It might have been "awesome" in 2005, but now "Facebook video chat is just licking the bowl to find the few remaining customers who might want to video chat with each other but haven't made it that far for whatever reason.""Analysis: Facebook video chatting handy, definitely not 'awesome'"

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