Facebook’s latest tight integration with a big third-party application could be coming soon — Skype is bringing Facebook to its calling, voice chat and SMS services, according to All Things D. The pairing is expected to roll out within the new version of Skype, 5.0, which is now in partial testing and expected to launch in the next few weeks.
The screenshot below, from the report, reveals a new tab in the Skype interface that shows Facebook friends. Each individual account includes the user’s phone number, with the option to call or text them.
There’s not a Skype chat option visible, though. Facebook has its own IM service, that may or may not be integrated here, while it has separately not appeared to move forward with its own video chat service. In other words, the two companies appear to be trying to complement each other in this integration, but not promoting competing products. That is different from what’s happened with two other communication service’s attempts to access Facebook data — Twitter and Apple’s Ping have both been blocked to date after trying to create their own integrations.
Facebook has previously given Skype some attention as well, in the form of trying to get its users to import their Skype contacts.
The Skype integration is not the first instance of a third-party communication application to benefit from Facebook. Microsoft’s Windows Live Messenger has been finding millions of new users in recent months, according to AppData, with 5.45 million daily active users and 6.93 million monthly active users on Facebook as of today. By syncing Messenger and Facebook accounts, users can chat with Facebook friends, see their activities, and share status updates. Other third-party IM services, like Meebo, have also offered these sorts of syncing capabilities.
Facebook has more than 500 million monthly active users, around half of whom come to the site every day. Skype has a similar number of of total registered users, but substantially fewer monthly users — 124 million people out of 560 million, with a peak of 23 million of them online at any given time. Perhaps the Facebook integration can help Skype boost its engagement rates, especially as it looks to go public?