Facebook Announces Updated Chat, Video Calls with Skype

Today was Facebook’s big announcement, and for some it was big indeed. Facebook has announced multiple changes to the way chat works on the site. There is a new chat interface, support for group messaging, and video chat with Skype built right in.

There is a new sidebar that shows you the contacts you chat with most often. This UI will adjust itself as you resize your browser window, so it stays out of the way. When you are chatting, you can create a group chat by clicking the Add Friends button. The real news in Facebook’s revamp is video chat. In the chat window, just press the video call button to initiate the call.

To use the video calling feature, both parties have to install a plug-in, but no Skype account is needed. Unfortunately, the video calls are only one-on-one affairs. No group video chat like in Google+ Hangouts. The new functionality should roll out to all users in the coming weeks.