Thursday, July 21, 2011

Facebook, Skype merger to compete with new Google+


facebook/skype merger

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, left, walks with Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, on July 7 at the Sun Valley Inn during the 2011 Allen and Co. Sun Valley Conference.
Two of the biggest names in social media launched a merger recently that will bring social media to a new level.
Facebook and Skype are now integrating their services to allow users to video call any of their friends from their Facebook page.
Executives say the goal of the integration is simplicity. Users will be able to click on a new video icon next to their friends' Facebook chat boxes to be instantly connected via video.
"This is by far the easiest way to get connected by video," Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, said July 6 during the launch. "If it was any easier, it would be like reading your mind."
Not all of Skype's features, such as multiple screen or HD calls, will be included on Facebook when the application is first launched, but executives say the goal is to be able to reach others first and then to develop further.
The integration of a smartphone app is in the making as well.
Analysts say that the merge is Microsoft's attempt to compete with growing tech powerhouse, Google.
In 2007 Microsoft purchased 1.6 percent of Facebook's shares, and in May the company announced plans to buy Skype.
In the meantime, Google is starting to innovate, as well, launching their first social networking site, Google+, on June 28.
The new website was the first to incorporate video chat with Google+ Hangouts, an app that allows users to chat with several friends and share screens from the Google+ page.
The site also features an app called "Circles," which enables users to organize groups of contacts with similar interests and "Huddle," an app to chat within the group.
What users search in the traditional Google search engine "Sparks," or topics of interest, can now be recorded and shared with friends on the Google+ site.
Search results now have the "Plus One" option next to them. Clicking the icon is essentially the same as "liking" a post on Facebook.
Google+ also offers the "Stream" feature, which allows users to share information within their groups, much like the Facebook News Feed.


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