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Facebook planning video chat, with a little help from Skype

We could all soon be chatting with our Facebook friends via the magic of video. The social network is reportedly planning to add Skype video calling to Facebook Chat.

Sometimes, leafing through your Facebook friends' photos just isn't enough -- you actually want to speak to them. Fortunately, you could soon be chatting on Facebook via the magic of video, as the social network is reportedly planning to add Skype video calling to Facebook Chat.

Facebook will make the official announcement this Wednesday at the social network's nerve centre in California. The announcement will be made at 6pm Blighty Time, so keep it CNET UK for all the news from Facebook HQ.

Last week, Skype unveiled a new-look Skype for Android app, which allows video calling on your Android phone. You can now make video calls from your Android phone to iPhones, desktops, laptops and tablets -- over 3G, as well as Wi-Fi. Only four Android phones can make video calls at the moment, but more will be supported soon.

Apple's FaceTime video-calling service only works over Wi-Fi, and only between the company's own products, such as a new MacBook or an iPad 2.

Skype is the world's best-known VoIP service, allowing you to make free phone and video calls to other Skype users, and cheap calls to phones over the Internet.

Last month, Microsoft surprised technology folk by buying Skype for a whopping £5.2bn. The motive behind that move isn't clear, as Skype actually runs at a loss. Microsoft may have wanted to get its sticky fingers on Skype's 170 million customers, or keep the US taxman's sticky fingers off its stockpile of surplus cash.

Facebook's 750 million users would be a heck of a boost to Skype. It would be a boost for Facebook too, which may soon face significant competition from Google's new social network, Google+. And, heck, let's not rule out dear old MySpace, which was recently bought by Justin Timberlake and pals.