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Facebook unveils video chatting, thanks to Skype

The world's largest social network will allow users to communicate with others via near-instant video chat, with help from Skype.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger

Screenshot of Facebook's new video chat feature. Facebook

Facebook and Skype have inked a deal that will bring video chatting to the world's largest social network.

Last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that his company was planning to launch "something awesome" today. As early rumors speculated, Skype video calling turned out to be that big announcement.

Video calling has been built into Facebook's chat platform. Users need only to click the video call button at the top of their chat window in order to start communicating over video--once the call recipient accepts the video request. According to Facebook, video chatting is just "two clicks away" on the service.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduces Facebook's new video chat features.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduces Facebook's new video chat features. James Martin/CNET

That level of ease is something that Facebook and Skype seem focused on with their new deal. The social network said its video calling is "the easiest way to get connected with video."

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced plans to acquire Skype for $8.5 billion. If the companies secure regulatory approval, Skype CEO Tony Bates will lead the new Microsoft Skype division. Zuckerberg said today that the acquisition would not "change anything" related to video calling on Facebook.

Facebook is being rolled out in 70 different languages starting today, and will be available to all of its 750 million active users "over the next few weeks."

Update at 10:58 a.m. PT to include more details.

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