The third and final part of the alliance is Video chat. Currently, the only method to communicate with your friends in real-time on Facebook occurs via text chat. With the proliferation of webcams and mobile devices gaining front facing cameras, video chat cannot be that far behind. (As as side note, the social network giant recently introduced a live video streaming service indicating that it is the next frontier.) Facebook provides a great service for staying in touch with family and friends scattered around the country and around the world and if you have ever seen the Appleâ€™s Facetime commercials, you know how powerful video chat can be.
I had an interesting conversation with a friend this week who works in a nursing home about crazy IT â€˜Nazisâ€ power plays of blocking Wi-Fi access to residents. The salient points from the whole deal were the reasons why the residents, who were stuck on dial up, needed faster internet access. It was to check the news, email but mainly updates and pictures of their friends and family on Facebook. These people have limited mobility so this is the best way for them to stay in touch. Adding real time video chat in this situation would narrow the gap even further and provide the best personal experience absent of physically being there. Microsoft already has the video infrastructure built into windows live messenger so hooking it up with Facebook should not be that difficult. Again, just like the two other parts of the alliance, the Xbox 360 with Video Kinect extends Facebook into the living room and the controller free capabilities are excellent for a whole range of consumers.
Coincidentally, readwriteweb.com has an article highlighting Facebookâ€™s music plans which features an alliance with Spotify instead of Zune like I talked about in part 1 of this post. In conclusion, I think a Microsoft-Facebook social alliance featuring, Zune, Xbox live and Video chat has the potential to transform the social networking arena in a way that none of their rivals can match anytime soon. Please make it happen!