Facebook and Skype deepen integration

Video chats are now possible between applications

Facebook and Skype have broadened the scope of their technical integration to make it possible for two people to do a video chat -- one using the Skype interface and the other using the Facebook interface.

In July, Facebook and Skype announced that they had linked up their platforms so that Facebook members could communicate via one-on-one video chats.

Now, a Skype user will be able to initiate a video chat session from within the Skype interface with a friend who is logged into Facebook but not necessarily also on Skype.

To do that, Skype users need to install version 5.4 Beta for Mac or version 5.7 Beta for Windows of the Skype client software, Skype said on Thursday.

Back in July, Facebook and Skype officials had said that the companies planned to extend the capabilities of the integration between their products.

A logical next step would be to introduce the ability for Facebook users to participate in video chats with multiple friends, not just on one-on-one sessions. This would put Facebook on par with the Hangouts feature on rival social networking site Google+.

In addition to the deeper Facebook integration, the upgraded versions of Skype also feature improved video rendering for Mac users and the ability for Windows users to show what's on their computer screen to multiple friends, a feature called "group screen sharing."

Juan Carlos Perez covers search, social media, online advertising, e-commerce, web application development, enterprise cloud collaboration suites and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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