Should Facebook have launched a mobile application for their video chat feature?Evan Selleck - Contributing Editor
So Facebook's "awesome" thing was unveiled yesterday, and it left some people wondering just what the definition of "awesome" is. While there are still many out there who are quick to point out the good parts of the social network's new video chat integration, the outspoken many seem to be leaning more towards "That's so 2007." But, perhaps the announcement could have been improved with more than just a fleeting mention of a mobile app sometime in the future.
There are more than a few ways to look at Mark Zuckerberg and company's announcement as a good thing. After all, Facebook has 750 million users, and now they can video chat one-on-one. That is pretty cool. The simple fact is that Facebook's timing was probably off. After all, Google had just unveiled Google+, the search giant's answer to the social network (after Buzz). This time around though, G+ is being met with plenty of fanfare and adoption; most of which is bolstered by the fact that Google+ has 10-person video conferencing. That's coupled with the already present one-on-one video chat that Google Talk already offers.
It seems logical that while Facebook's integration with Skype is a big step with its prominent user base, that if Facebook really wanted to make a splash in the news that they needed to not only come out swinging, but also by jumping ahead. Perhaps if Facebook video chat supported up to 11 people (or more), and featured a ridiculously easy set-up process (and no plug-in).
Or, maybe just a native mobile client for more than one mobile operating system. After all, Facebook is one of the most downloaded mobile applications, so why wouldn't the company out more focus on the mobile front? Or, perhaps the better question should be: why isn't Facebook putting more of an effort into the mobile space. If Zuckerberg had come out on stage and unveiled a new, outstanding iPad application, the news would have gone up in a rage of "Finally!" news. Or, better yet, Facebook could have launched Facebook video chat and an iPad app at the same time. If the application supported video chatting out of the gate, people would have freaked out (in a good way).
Yes, there are probably plenty of reasons why Facebook didn't do anything like this. It wouldn't be surprising to find out that Facebook is more than content on using their ridiculous user base in promoting that one-on-one video chatting scenario. And eventually there will be money being passed around, in some fashion or another. There isn't any doubt about that.
Whether or not Facebook's announcement comes anywhere near Google's announcement is probably going to come down to personal preference more than anything else. But I truly believe that if Facebook had offered up something for the mobile market, specifically geared towards that video calling feature, the company could have made history. And, more importantly, a lot of people happy.
But, tell me what you think. Does Facebook's video calling integration match up with Google+'s own implementation? Could Facebook change everything by launching a more mobile version of the same thing? Let me know in the comments what you think.