Earlier today, Facebook announced a new feature to their site which involved video-calling and group chat in collaboration with Skype. This new feature involved giving current Facebook chat users the ability to video call their friends.
If you are someone who are not sure how to use this feature, here is a simple step-through on getting that done.
Step 1: Head over to http://www.facebook.com/videocalling
Step 2: Click on the "Get Started" button on this page.
Step 3: Now click on the name of contact you want to chat with and then click on the Video calling icon in the chat window.
Step 4: You will be prompted to download a plugin for your browser. This is only a one-time process, so you will be able to video chat in the future without having to install this plugin again. According to reports this does not work yet on Opera and on Linux based operating systems. I tested this with Google Chrome and it worked perfectly fine.
That’s it, you will now be able to video call and group chat with your friends using Facebook. Video calling however is only limited to one person at this time.
Right now the Facebook video calling is very buggy and you might see messages as seen in the screenshot above. However, the quality of the call is excellent if you are able to call someone that is.
In what Mark Zuckerberg called the start to “Launching Season 2011”, Facebook has announced that they are launching a number of products over the coming months. Zuckerberg said that the goal of Social Networking has shifted from connecting people to building apps for people to use. He claimed that the future of internet use is based on social infrastructure.
During his announcement, Zuckerberg confirmed that Facebook has reached 750 million users. At the same time, he emphasized that this is not the metric that Facebook wants to watch. Their goal now is to improve the way that people share.
To that end, Facebook is launching a handful of new products today. The first major announcement was a new form group chat. If you use Facebook groups, then you know you can already chat with whole groups. You can create an ad-hoc group by adding more than one Facebook friend in the Facebook chat interface. They claim that ‘a lot of people requested’ this service.
The next feature announced was the ability to find people to chat with easier. Given that you have the available screen space, you can now see a ‘buddy list’ of Facebook friends. This will allow you more easily find the people you want to chat with. The new sidebar will adjust to fit the size of your screen.
The last announcement was Skype integration. This was rumored to be the most likely announcement, and it came true. If you want to initiate a Video chat on Facebook, you simply click the video call button in your Facebook chat window. If the person who you are trying to call doesn’t have the plugin installed, they will be automatically prompted to do so. There is also a video call button on profile pages.
All three of these features will be rolling out automatically over the next few weeks. If you don’t want to wait for these products, you can get it now.
Android users very well know that the official Skype application for Android is nothing but a joke. The app is slow, and does not support video calling, which is one main reason why people use Skype.
A major over-haul of the app was long due, and it has finally landed on the Android Market! I find it a bit ironic since when Microsoft purchased Skype, I gave up the very thought of Skype’s Android app ever being updated.
The new version of Skype (v2.0) brings with it a whole new, and much improved UI, along with support for SMS. The application now also supports two-way video calling via Wi-Fi or 3G. However, two way video-calling feature is limited to only four handsets at the moment. Those four handsets include the Google Nexus S, Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro and Neo, and the HTC Desire S.
Yes, Skype did not bother to add support for popular phones with front-facing camera like the EVO 4G, Samsung Galaxy S/ S2, EVO 3D, but added them for two phones which are hardly available anywhere.
Hopefully, Skype will soon release an updated version of the application with support for video calling on more Android handsets. Here is the link to the updated version of Skype for Android.
On December 22nd, millions of Skype users were left without service for roughly 24 hours. At the time, Skype was scrambling to get the system back up and didn’t offer a full explanation of what was happening. (what is Skype?)
Earlier today, Skype’s CIO, Lars Rabbe, gave a fairly detailed explanation about the system wide failure. Skype depends heavily on a world wide network of peer-to-peer nodesand supernodesthat are hosted by users running Skype’s software. This network distributes the service’s work load to each Skype user as needed.
According to Lars, a cluster of Skype servers overloaded and threw more of the load onto the peer-to-peer network. Normally, this should have only slowed the network down. Instead, a bug in some of the Windows clients running a newer Skype version, cause many to completely fail. About 50% of the peer-to-peer network stopped responding, and the entire network collapsed like a house of cards.
Skype technicians responded by creating new peers on the network called mega-supernodesto try to recover normal traffic, but the recovery still took a long time.
So what has Skype learned? Can they prevent downtime in the future? Here’s what Lars said about the future:
â€¦ we are learning the lessons we can from this incident and reviewing our processes and procedures, looking in particular for ways in which we can detect problems more quickly to potentially avoid such outages altogether, and ways to recover the system more rapidly after a failure.
Skype has become a critical communication tool for many individuals and companies. If Skype can avoid major disasters in the future, they’ll remain the king of VOIP. If not, they have plenty of competition waiting to jump in as a replacement.
Here are some of our previous posts about Skype:
Earlier, Google rolled out an update which added Linux support for Google Talk’s Voice and Video chat. Unfortunately, the update has been packaged only a debian deb file. Fortunately, Jigish Gohil, more popularly known as “CyberOrg” in the openSUSE community has a solution.
The debian package is a archive consisting of the required libraries and a cron job, Jigish has extracted the files and rolled it into a tarball. To install, just download the tarball and extract it to the root folder. To do so, open the Terminal.
Switch to the root user:
Next, use tar to extract and move the files
tar jxvf /path/to/downloaded/file/google-talkplugin.tar.bz2 -C /
Replace /path/to/downloaded/file with the location at which you downloaded the file. Restart your browsers, and you should be ready to start talking!
Google now provides an RPM package, just head over to the Download page and select the required file.
After a long, long time – Google finally has introduced Voice & Video chat for Linux. Now while trying to start a Voice or Video chat, instead of showing “This system is not supported” – you get redirected to Google’s Chat download page.
Clicking on the “Install button” will prompt you to download the Debian package file.
Once saved, just double click on the file to launch the package manager, and click on install to Install the plugin.
Once installed, just restart your browser and you’re all set to start video chatting in Linux!
The bad news that currently, only debs are packaged, which means RPM based distro users will have to wait a little bit longer.
A screen sharing (remote access) application allows you to view another computer across the internet, and often times, control their mouse and keyboard just as if you were there. Many years ago, I used an application, called VNC, so that my brother-in-law and I could play computer games together on the same computer even though he was about 1000 miles away. Many people and companies use remote access services to assist others when they need help on their PCs.
In June of 2008, I reviewed a screen sharing service called TeamViewer. TeamViewer allows you operate computers remotely, and in addition, it allows you to share files and carry on a text chat. There are many services like this one available on the internet. Most of these services require that you sign up for an account and many also require a payment.
The main reasons that I like TeamViewer is that it’s basic service is free for non-commercial (home) use and there are no sign-ups required. It’s also available as a portable application, meaning that you only need to download a zip file and extract it to a folder. It can even be used on a USB flash drive or other portable media.
There is now a beta version available which allows voice and video chat. Naturally, the quality of voice and video chat depends mostly on how good your internet connection is.
Below is a video showing you basically how TeamViewer works.
Go to the TeamViewer download page.
You can find a portable version if you scroll down a little way.
TeamViewer is an excellent service that gives you more power to help and share with your distant friends and family. It’s also easy to use, and most importantly, it’s free.
Techie-Buzz Rating: 4/5
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Orkut a popular social networking site in India and Brazil has announced a new feature which will allow you to video chat with your friends from within Orkut.
The new video chat feature adds a picture in picture chat like Skype and Yahoo messenger 10. To make use of this feature users will have to download a small video plugin.
Video chat feature is certainly something new in social networking as even Facebook does not support this feature yet.
Will you use video chat to chat with your friends? Do you think this feature will make more users go back to Orkut? Don’t forget to tell me your views on this.
Talk face-to-face with your friends with video chat in Orkut [Orkut Blog]
Over the past month Gmail has introduced several new features in Gmail Labs, their playground for testing useful and interesting features. The new features include Sending SMS from Gmail, Google Calendar and Docs integration, ability to add Custom Gadgets to Gmail, Stop yourself from sending emails on a heavy drinking weekend, get a reminder if you forgot to attach a file, get more control over your IMAP account among other things including emoticons and canned responses.
Well they just do not stop do they, this time they have rolled out a new feature that will help you voice and video chat from within Gmail.
Continue reading Gmail Labs Introduces Voice and Video Chat