The code pretty obviously implies that Facebook is preparing to launch a video chat service. So why would Facebook be focused on launching a video chat service? To keep users on the site longer of course! Additionally, Facebook can increasingly become a central hub of communication for many of its users. What’s interesting about these new features is that they compete directly with the features within Google’s Gmail product.
The only thing Facebook is missing now is an improved messaging system. Facebook’s messaging system is pretty horrible currently. As of now, navigating and archiving messages is not easy. Filtering messages is also extremely challenging. One thing that Facebook’s messaging service has above others is the ability to integrate applications as attachments.
While Facebook may not be the primary communication channel for adults, younger users have been using the site as the primary way for getting in touch with friends. In other words: email is dying. Not only will Facebook take on Google when it comes to video chat but they’ll also be competing against other web based video chat providers such as TokBox.
With all of these communication tools it’s clear that Facebook wants to become the central hub of communication on the web for its many users. The addition of video chat emphasizes this focus. Earlier this week Facebook upgraded their messaging system to take advantage of friend list filters and it appears that there will soon be a video component as well.
Whether or not this will be integrated into the existing chat system is unknown but it’s clear a live video messaging service is in the works at Facebook.
Thanks to Fabian Uebersax for the tip!
Facebook sent us an update to say “We had been testing a video chat feature, but we have no current plans to launch it to users.”