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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Facebook announces Video Calling, powered by Skype

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced their new Video Calling feature, powered by Skype, at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto Wednesday. The announcement was streamed live through the "Facebook Live" channel via Livestream.

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The Video Calling feature is launching today and was designed for ease of use. It installs much in the same way as other apps on Facebook. Just click the call button at the top of your friend's profile or chat window. The first time you connect you will be asked to approve the installation and screen_shot_2011-07-06_at_2.13.55_pm.pngthe app will be downloaded and installed automatically. Facebook says it takes just two clicks and under 30 seconds to start a Video Call. If there's no answer you also can leave a video message. Of course, you have to have a web cam with a microphone attached to your computer for the feature to work.

"It's so minimal and so easy to use, I really think a lot of people are going to want to do it." ~ Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg

In addition to the Video Calling feature, a new design for text Chat on wider screens, with a sidebar that has one-click access for those you chat with most, was shown. New Group Chat features were unveiled as well.

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The announcement, widely advertised and watched live by more than 50,000 people, began about 15 minutes late with Zuckerberg going through a bunch of statistics about social media trends and sharing of information. The Video Calling feature is rolling out in waves and you should be able to find it installed on your account sometime today. As soon as the press conference was over it was enabled on my Facebook account. The new feature is only available for computers at this time and does not include mobile devices. It also currently does not include group chat.

(Photo of Mark Zuckerberg, top, by the Associated Press)

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 6, 2011 4:57pm]

    

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