Facebook is becoming a much bigger player in online video than it has previously. Already a haven for user-generated content, it could now be eyeing up the likes of Skype and Gmail with an intention to launch live video chat soon. Possibly.
Facebook Is Huge
Facebook is, at its heart, all about communication. The social network, now the biggest one in the world, even beating the giant that is MySpace, allow you to make friends and share your life with them. This sharing takes many forms, from messaging, to sharing photos, and of course, sharing video clips.
Facebook currently offers two forms of video interaction – the linking and embedding of external clips such as those from YouTube, Hulu, and the like; and the uploading of personal clips. This latter variety, which is 100 percent user-generated content, has seen Facebook steadily climb the video viewer charts until it is now banging on the door of the top ten.
Facebook Video Metrics
According to comScore, Facebook managed 12.5 million unique video viewers in March, 2009. This is nowhere near the amount enjoyed by its closest rival MySpace and isn’t that impressive when you consider the site has 200 million or so users, but seeing as video is just a small part of what the site offers, it’s not a bad result.
Having said that, that depends whether you believe the online video metrics are correct or not. Hulu has recently questioned the results because three different measurement companies produced three very different sets of results.
Facebook Video Chat
The code is still currently available and shows notification messages such as, “Waiting for your friend…”, “Video call denied.”, “Incoming call:”, and “Loading video call…”. The intention seems clear: turn the live chat option currently offered on Facebook into a live video chat option instead.
This could, of course, be a speculative stab in the dark but it would certainly make sense for Facebook to want to head in that direction. And if it indeed does launch a live video chat service, it would be a huge blow for similar service already in existence. Skype is the undisputed video chat leader but there is also Google‘s Gtalk within Gmail and Tokbox.
With 200 million plus users, all of whom already have a set of friends they’d probably love to chat to via video, Facebook could be about to corner the market.