Facebook is on a search for new, sticky features; Skype video calling integration isn't it, it seems. After the big buildup, yesterday's "awesome" announcement turned out to be pretty pedestrian. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers yawn at Mark Zuckerberg's big snoozefest.
Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention this great British idea: Shop the online grocery store, while you wait for your train...
As Sharon Gaudin reports, it's "a swing directly at Google+" with Microsoft's help:
After teasing last week that today's announcement was going to be "awesome,"...Mark Zuckerberg took the wraps off a partnership with Skype that brings video chat to the social network [and] the unveiling of a new group chat feature. ... ... While Google and Facebook have been competitors over the past year, Google's introduction of [Plus] raises the stakes to a new level. ... [T]hat is where Microsoft comes into the mix. ... Microsoft and Facebook have been partners for several years ... In May, Microsoft agreed to acquire Skype for $8.5 billion.
In Chris Foresman's and Peter Bright's analysis, it's "definitely not awesome":
[We] took the new features for a spin, and shortcomings were immediately obvious. ... [Y]ou can't make video calls with other Skype users. ... [N]o chatting among groups like in Google+'s new "hangout" feature. ... [It's] difficult to access other work while chatting. However, Facebook's massive user base could make the new features useful. ... ... "Awesome"? No, not really. ... [I]nnovative? Not even close. Preempted by Google's...Plus release last week? More than a little. ... [B]ut I suspect that the majority of users will never care. ... Success is all but guaranteed.
Michael Arrington positions them differently:
Googles new hangout product is all about group chat. ... Up to ten people can use it at once. ... If you want to have fun with a group of friends, or hold a dead simple video team call, Google Hangouts is perfect. ... ... If you want to have a one on one video chat, and your friend list is hosted at Facebook, the new Facebook video chat is...near perfect. ... So for now, theres really no comparison. ... Theres no real overlap between the products at all.
Patricia Handschiegel takes the telecom angle:
But what makes it all really really sexy and exciting is...that telecom is about to disrupt due to the internet...and that means internet companies like Facebook could become telecom competition, or...a telecom acquisition. Its a little more complicated than it sounds...and its early. But for almost a decade carriers have kept voice calling via the internet...away from mass consumers. Thats about to change.
Meanwhile, Seth Weintraub was a frustrated MacOS X Lion user, until he found a workaround:
Facebook didnt account for those people using Lion. ... The fix is easy however: Just change your Browser user agent. ... [I]n Safari, hit up Safari 5.1-Mac and you are golden.