How to Make Facebook Video Calls

Facebook and Skype are closely working together to make online social interactions more interesting, since after making it possible to update a Facebook profile using Skype, now it’s possible to video call Facebook friends. 

What is video calling on Facebook and how do you make it?

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Since July 6 2011, video calling allows you to talk to your friends face to face on Facebook. You have to complete a quick, one-time setup for it to work. If your friend isn’t available, you can always leave a video message. Just like with chat, only your confirmed friends can call you on Facebook. You also have the option to ignore any call you receive.

  1. If you and your friend both have webcams and microphones set up, you will be able to see and hear each other in real time. If you call friends who don’t have webcams, they’ll be able to see and hear you but you will only be able to hear them.
  2. After you complete the quick, one-time setup, you’re ready to make your first call: open your friend’s profile and click the “Call” button in the top right corner. If you and your friend are already chatting, you can also click the video icon at the top of your chat window.
  3. When your friend answers, you may have to wait a moment for your call to connect before the video call begins. If your friend hasn’t set up video calling yet, you’ll be asked to wait until the setup is complete.
  4. If your friend is unavailable, you can leave a video message. The time and date of your missed call will be listed in your ongoing message history with your friend.
  5. Make sure your webcam and microphone are both up and running at the time you are making the video call.

Don’t hesitate, “bring your conversations to life” by setting up video calling on your Facebook account.

 

How is it possible to make video calls on Facebook?

In a blog titled Under the Hood with Facebook Video Calling, Jonathan Rosenberg, Chief Technology Strategist at Skype tells how they integrated Skype and Facebook to guarantee techies and general web users the integration works for real and for good. Below are excerpts of his release.

The first step of the user experience is on facebook.com. While looking at the profile page or while in a chat, users will now see buttons which allow them to initiate a video call with their friends. Those buttons are rendered as part of the Facebook Web page. When a user clicks on the “call” button, the page will check for the existence of the Skype video calling software, which is an optimized version of Skype’s desktop software that powers the video calling experience; we call this the plug-in. If the Skype plug-in hasn’t been used before, the user is prompted to install it.

The plug-in is essential for video call to work!

The plug-in is in essence, a miniature version of the Skype client. We’ve optimized the Skype client for Facebook by removing most of the user interface and eliminating many of the features that are not needed for the Facebook application (e.g., Skype instant messaging). Our plug-in is actually composed of two distinct parts. One is the runtime, which is a standalone miniature Skype client, and the other is an actual browser plug-in.

Video quality rendered by Skype, not Facebook!

The user interface you see for the video itself is rendered by the Skype runtime. It’s the same video quality you’d expect from a normal Skype video call, since it is a normal Skype video call. It just happens to be invoked from within Facebook, and uses a slim UI.

If you are my friend on Facebook, I’d like us to try this feature. Please don’t think that I’m used to drinking Guinness beer, but beyond the “greatness” of this milestone in online social communications, I’d like to know your thought as a comment below.

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