When Facebook announced Skype-powered video chat back in July of 2011, it set off a flurry of one-on-one video calling that quickly made it one of Facebook’s most popular features. Wait, you’re not using Facebook to video chat all the time? Okay, me neither.
While Facebook has continued to grow since July, 2011 (well over 900 million users, currently), use of their Skype-powered video chat is far from ubiquitous among users. Now it appears that Facebook wants to increase usage of the feature by giving users another, more prominent way to initiate it – prime placement on users’ Timelines.
TechCrunch nabbed a screenshot that show Facebook testing a “Call” button that appears right next to the “Message” button on the Timeline.
Check it out below:
As of now, this is basically the only way to start a video chat with someone:
The new “Call” button is an obvious improvement over the video camera icon within the chat box. In the same way that users browsing a band’s Facebook page are given a quick way to “Listen” to the artist’s Spotify catalog, users browsing a friend’s Timeline would now see the video chat option front and center.
Of course, making it easier for users to initiate video chat doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a one-on-one service. Facebook has yet to launch group video chat, a feature they promised with the launch of the Skype-powered video chat. Facebook will most likely need to improve their video chat offerings in order to compete with Google+ Hangouts, which is easily one of the most popular features on Google+. Not to mention, I think I’ve been hearing some buzz for a new video chat service from Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker, two guys you may have heard of.