We now know what Zuckerberg was talking about when he announced his "awesome" new thing last week. And no, much to the chagrin of millions, Facebook is not launching the dislike button.
Rumors about the announcement ranged from the unveiling of a new iPad app to the launch of a new photo-sharing app for iOS. Reports emerged last Friday that Facebook would be partnering with Skype to bring live in-browser video chat to its 700 million + users.
It appears as though the latter prediction is correct, as Mark Zuckerberg debuted video chat powered by Skype. The other two things that he unveiled were seamless group chat and a brand new chat design with an ever-present buddy list for easier connections. The buddy list will display the people to chat the most with, no matter whether they are actually online or not.
The product announcement was advertised via global Facebook invite over the weekend. The event page linked to the Facebook Live page where the live stream was broadcast from Facebook HQ in Palo Alto.
Zuckerberg said that this is "launching season 2011" and has been in the works for about 6 months. He also talked about the "narrative" of social networking and how it has been about active users and expanding connections to even more people.
But the new way to judge growth isn't about active users, he said, but about sharing. He added that Facebook had in fact hit 750 million users but they didn't publicize it because that is no longer the metric on which they want to focus. 4 billion things are shared per day, and it is growing at a "exponential rate."
When asked bout his feelings regarding Google+, Zuckerberg said that Google represents an example of how companies that haven't always looked at social are beginning to embrace it as important for the future. He also cited Netflix as an example of a company trying to incorporate social.
Sure does seem like a pretty clear response to Google+'s hangout feature.
Some more on what Zuck said during the big reveal today can be found here.
First, here are some reactions from the unimpressed part of the Twitterverse -
So Facebook's primary announcement is group chat and 1-on-1 video calling inside Facebook. Not exactly "awesome."
Facebook video chat, when it becomes mobile, let me know.
I love how facebook keeps talking about gandpa being able to video chat. All they did was make facebook a lot more confusing for grandpa.
"Facebook can't even get regular chat working, and now they're integrating video chatting with it? LOL" - real talk from my roomie.
Another trend on Twitter is "Zuck," and people are giving him a pretty hard time for his public speaking chops -
Zuckerburg on Skype One-on-One chat in Facebook: "I just think this is super awesome." Profound Zuck, profound.
It's quite true that haters always say more than fans on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and the haters are out in full force on Twitter. There are plenty of excited users, however like this guy who is making use of the product already -
Facebook video calling is working like RIGHT now. Did a video chat with two friends.
These people sure think it lives up to the "awesome" promise -
Facebook skype ? Awesome!
What do you think? Does all of this qualify as the "awesome" announcement we were promised? Let us know in the comments.