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Facebook teams up with Skype for free video calls

Facebook teams up with Skype

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shakes hands with Skype CEO Tony Bates during a news conference at the Facebook headquarters on July 6, 2011 in Palo Alto, California where Zuckerberg announced new features that are coming to Facebook including video and group chat. (Justin Sullivan/AFP/Getty Images)

Facebook has teamed up with Skype to allow users to make free video calls to their "friends" through the social networking site.

The partnership is due to roll out internationally over the next few weeks, The Guardian reported.

It is a sign of the way "social apps" will become more prevalent, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's founder and chief executive, said.

(From GlobalPost on Facebook: Does China want to buy Facebook?)

Zuckerberg introduced the new feature as part of a raft of new sharing and communication tools to be launched in the next few months.

"This is symbolic of the way we are going to do these things, building social apps on top of our social infrastructure … it's only possible because that social infrastructure already exists."

The Guardian reported that he also announced group chat and a redesigned layout for Facebook chat.

It reported:

The next five years of consumer web, he said, would see companies across many sectors exploit the social infrastructure to make their businesses more social.

"The world generally believes that social software will be everywhere, and it will only be a matter of time before it reaches billions of people, whether through us or someone else," Zuckerberg told journalists and technologists at the launch in California.

"The driving narrative is not about wiring up the world because a lot of the interesting stuff has been done but about what cool social apps you can build now this social infrastructure is in place."

The new feature comes just a week after the launch of Google+, which includes a video chat feature called Hangouts, designed for groups of people to video chat at once.

Given the impending acquisition of Skype by Microsoft, the new feature marks the most important collaboration of the two yet, Digital Trends reports.

The veteran tech giant was an early investor in Facebook. If Microsoft’s Skype acquisition is approved, it will be an important step in its strategy to beat Google.

Digital Trends reports:

Both Microsoft and Facebook have had their wars with the Internet titan, which has a foot in every arena of the digital world. From Chromebooks to its Chrome browser to search to email to mobile – and now, to social. Google competes on every platform, and Microsoft wants to win by helping Facebook firmly claim its place above Google+.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business-tech/110707/facebook-teams-skype-free-video-calls