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Facebook, Skype Getting Really Friendly 119

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the can-you-hear-me-now dept.
cgriffin21 writes "Facebook and Skype are reportedly in talks over a deal that would integrate Skype calling capabilities into Facebook user accounts. Such an agreement would give both Skype and Facebook not only a leg up on rival VoIP and social networking services from the likes of Google, but also the combined force of two Internet-based services beloved by consumers. The talks, which were reported by All Things Digital on Wednesday, stem from Facebook's goal of merging IP communications and social networking communities more closely together. Facebook in recent weeks had also been rumored to be developing a mobile device of its own."
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Facebook, Skype Getting Really Friendly

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Oh you said consumers. Carry on then.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by egamma (572162)

      Oh you said consumers. Carry on then.

      And you don't consume? You don't eat food from the store, you grew your own laptop in your garden?

      "Consumer" includes everyone on this planet, with the exception of people who get 100% of the clothes, food, and other stuff from nature.

      Keep in mind, Einstein and Hawking are/were both consumers. Even Thoreau bought nails and a hammer to build his shack with.

      • You don't GROW laptops. Geez. No, obviously he mined all the metals and drilled for all the petroleum, smelted the metals, refined the oil to plastic, and hand built his system. He's very proud of it. It's the equivalent of a 386, and it only took him 24 years to make.

      • I (at least these days) always think of the business concept of a "consumer" as being a thoughtless, emotion-driven automaton that exists solely to purchase goods and services provided by businesses, mainly because of the language used that refers to "consumers" in such contexts.

        But yeah, we (almost all) consume in the sense that we buy stuff. Technically, growing your own stuff consumes resources too.

        Perhaps I'm just being pedantic.

        • Yes I remember when you bought stuff you were a 'customer'. Now you're a 'consumer'.

          I guess it's because of the saying that 'the customer is always right'. We're not customers now - so we can always be wrong...

      • Consumer, the term, is a pejorative. It implies that I am some sort of reverse landfill that will hand out money to any garbage truck full of products that gets dumped in my vicinity.

        I am not a consumer. I am a *potential* customer. That implies that I am careful about how I spend my money, and that I value a company that attempts to forge a good relationship with me. I am not likely to buy something merely because it's on sale down at the feed farm.

  • beloved? (Score:3, Funny)

    by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@NOSpAM.barbara-hudson.com> on Thursday September 30, 2010 @03:23PM (#33752214) Journal
    >but also the combined force of two Internet-based services beloved by consumers.

    I'll leave it to someone else to do the Princess Bride thing?

    In Soviet Russia, skype and facebook consume YOU!

    • Re:beloved? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Zouden (232738) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @03:52PM (#33752656)

      I know it's hip to hate on Facebook (and Skype too? Why not) but don't fool yourself into thinking that those services aren't enormously popular worldwide. For many people, keeping in touch with loved ones is are the most important thing they do with their computers.

      • Re:beloved? (Score:5, Funny)

        by e065c8515d206cb0e190 (1785896) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @03:59PM (#33752748)
        I also keep in touch with my loved ones on my computer.

        Just not in the same way...
        • by Nadaka (224565)

          Ugh... Just make sure to put your pants back on before you video chat with grandma.

        • ...And how is that? Look, a ton of people are on Facebook and they are easy to find and people are on there often. Ok, sure, if you only communicate with a few people, yeah, e-mail and phone calls will work, but that doesn't always scale. For one, e-mails oftentimes fail for one reason or another (spam filters, people don't check e-mails often, it gets ignored, etc), even international texting rates are insanely expensive, if you want to talk to someone in another country, you can't just call them on the ph
          • So, IM clients, with the varied accounts are hard to keep track of, but social media sites aren't? Facebook is pretty popular these days, but a lot of people also have some combination of MySpace, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Everyone has their favorite, so it's not to difficult to find out that someone will get do the same thing to Facebook that they do to MSN: Download it, friend you, and never log in again.
      • by CentTW (1882968)

        Widely used is not synonymous with beloved. The local DMV is widely used, but you'll be hard pressed to find anyone calling it beloved.

        About two months ago there was a Slashdot [slashdot.org] article indicating that on average, people are very dissatisfied with Facebook, but they keep using it because Facebook is a de facto monopoly, thanks to the network effect.

        Personally, I can't stand Facebook, but I use it because I've got too many friends who refuse to respond to email. I'll continue to hate on it until they solve

      • by Daengbo (523424)

        Entirely too popular. Match the largest (maybe monopoly) consumer social network with the largest (also possibly a monopoly) consumer VOIP, and what do you get? It can't be good.

        • by Daengbo (523424)

          Oh, and one more thing: if we went federated social with XMPP instead of FB, the VOIP and video would already be available with no work. In fact, FB exposes XMPP so they should be able to get voice/video pretty easily, too. Why do they need Skype?

          • Because XMPP is just a protocol and they need software - and Skype (the company) has a team with years of experience of developing VoIP software for the consumer market (as in, not business) with social networking capabilities and a most recognize brand in the sector (Works with Skype(TM) is very common nowadays).

      • That's great.

        Doesn't mean I want the two services married to one another.

        In fact, I don't really want them touching each other with a 10K foot pole.

      • I know it's hip to hate on Facebook ....

        Of course. It requires friends.

    • by Spatial (1235392)

      Not just in Soviet Russia. You are the product being sold to their advertisers.

  • Magic (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SGDarkKnight (253157) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @03:24PM (#33752226)

    I wonder what impact this might have on magic jack. I've used that service far more than any other type of online communications. It also has a nice feature of letting me take it oversea's and as long as i have a high speed connection, i can still make any phone calls back to north america for free.

    • Re:Magic (Score:4, Funny)

      by ZeroFactorial (1025676) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @03:42PM (#33752492)
      I'll tell you what it's going to do; it's going to Slap Chop your little Magic Jack into the afterlife, where it will meet Billy Mays, dressed in OxyClean bleached ultra-white angel clothes, buffing his harp with a ShamWow, and re-affixing it to his head with some Mighty Putty.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Nadaka (224565)

        ...angel clothes...

        You fail. He would obviously be wearing a snuggy.

        • I stand corrected. Clearly your knowledge of "As seen of TV" products far surpasses my own. ;)
          • by Nadaka (224565)

            Insomnia. It has its benefits...

            Wait... No, I doesn't. My mind bleeds that I am now aware of the the new festive animal print snuggies. ;)

    • by c6gunner (950153)

      It also has a nice feature of letting me take it oversea's and as long as i have a high speed connection, i can still make any phone calls back to north america for free.

      Congrats - you've just described every VOIP service in existence.

    • I had to look up Magic Jack, and I don't see what the relevance is. It looks just like a standard VoIP service that bundles an adaptor that you can plug an old phone into? My SIP provider doesn't bundle such things (and I'd have no use for it if they did), but I can buy them from their online store quite cheaply. Or I can use a software SIP client, including the one built into my mobile phone, so I can make calls via them whenever I am near WiFi.

      Skype and Facebook are probably a good match. Both serv

  • by synthesizerpatel (1210598) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @03:25PM (#33752254)

    About as much as Friendster, Myspace, Orkut, and Tribes and Geocities were I guess..

    If this trend continues interest in disco music will continue to sky-rocket!

    • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @03:55PM (#33752686) Homepage

      Well, given FB has been around for 6 years, now, and shows absolutely no signs of decline, I think it might be a little early to declare its demise, even if Netcraft confirms it...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        It just hasn't peaked yet. You'll see. Facebook is the flavor of the month and it WILL go the way of myspace. It's just not going to have legs to stand on when people tire of the lack of attention to it's basic features, security, and all the attention on adding the latest answers to questions not asked; geolocating me and my stupid posts, unwanted tagging, badly integrated media types, shitty apps filled with malware and ads, etc. Yeah, Grandma and Grandpa are going to be "sticky" to facebook in two ye

        • by Abcd1234 (188840)

          Facebook is the flavor of the month

          This is exactly my point. "Flavor of the month" for *six fucking years*, and *still* going strong. Honestly, people like you amuse me... so deluded, *convinced* that, because Facebook personally offends you, it must just be, like, a fad.

          Look, I know *you* don't like Facebook. But guess what? The world is different, now, compared to when Myspace was all the rage. Today, grandma's and uncles are using Facebook. It's not simply some teenage fad, and has embedded itself

  • One more reason to dump skype for a truly private VoIP solution. Still waiting..
  • Awesome! When Facebook crashes and burns it'll also hurt Skype! Two birds, one stone.
  • by hey (83763)

    Facebook: yuck
    Skype: yuck
    Facebook + Skype: yyuucckk

    • by Abcd1234 (188840)

      Huh? What the fuck is wrong with skype, exactly? Or are you just hating on it by default because it's, like, all popular and mainstream and stuff, maaaan.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Joe Tie. (567096)
        I use linux on the desktop and android on my phone. The annoyances skype has provided between those two are so huge I don't know where to start.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Duradin (1261418)

        This is /., Skype is, dare I say it, I dare, fashionable. /. has a raging hate-on for anything deemed fashionable. Except for being fashionable by hating anything else that's fashionable. That sort of fashionable is A-OK.

      • Enforcing any kind of sane network security policy with skype is impossible.

        Verifying Skype message security is very difficult: we just have to take their word for it.

        Skype head of security said "I will not say if we are listening in or not" when asked about eavesdropping. Apparently they have the means anyway.

        Oh, and the most important thing: why the fuck would anyone want to give control of a communication network to a single company when it's not physically required? That makes no sense.

        • by Abcd1234 (188840)

          Enforcing any kind of sane network security policy with skype is impossible.

          How is it any better or worse than any other peer-to-peer application? Honestly, I don't know, I've never had to deal with Skype on that level.

          Verifying Skype message security is very difficult: we just have to take their word for it. ...

          Skype head of security said "I will not say if we are listening in or not" when asked about eavesdropping. Apparently they have the means anyway. ...

          why the fuck would anyone want to give control o

          • Google Chat uses XMPP, and you can talk to their users without being part of their network.

            The Google Talk network supports open interoperability with hundreds of other communications service providers through a process known as federation. This means that a user on one service can communicate with users on another service without needing to sign up for, or sign in with, each service.

            IRC networks like EFnet also have plenty of federated servers with different admins; and others, like OFTC are managed by no

          • So, I can only assume you don't use IM (Google Chat, AIM, Facebook chat, or IRC) or SMS, nor do you make use of, say, an ISP or telephony company, right?

            I really don't understand what you mean. Of the communication methods you list I use XMPP (Google chat), IRC, SMS, telephone. I also have a website, email address and a contract with an ISP.

            None of the above tie me to a single operator. If I lose trust in any of network operators or software providers involved, I can change to another one without significan

            • by Abcd1234 (188840)

              None of the above tie me to a single operator.

              All your communications flow through a single operator. If you use GChat, it flows through Google. It might eventually end up in another network through federation, but Google sees it all. IRC? SMS? Telephone? Same fucking deal. So if you're paranoid about Skype, you should be paranoid about all of the above.

              • That point was not related to information security at all, yet you apparently accuse me of infosec paranoia (the point was about choice, but more on that in end of the post). Security is just an example of the many things that can go wrong when users choices are artificially limited.

                This is what matters: with Skype and other communication methods that work over proprietary protocols I'm tied to whoever owns the protocol. If the provider becomes evil, my _only_ choices are to stop communicating totally using

      • by zash.se (1342685)

        Skype is proprietary, uses a proprietary protocol and has taken extreme measures to obfuscate their traffic and functioning of their program. And the Linux version is just horrible in every way possible.

      • by hey (83763)

        I notice you didn't ask what was wrong with Facebook ;)

        On Skype...

        There's this
        http://tech.blorge.com/Structure:%20/2009/02/24/skype-steals-bandwidth-%E2%80%94-even-when-you-are-not-using-it/ [blorge.com]

        But the main thing I didn't like about either is that they are closed. There are fine open VoIP standards but Skype doesn't use them.

        • by Abcd1234 (188840)

          I notice you didn't ask what was wrong with Facebook ;)

          Eh, everyone around here bitches about Facebook, I assumed you were just another griefer drone. *shrug*

          There's this
          http://tech.blorge.com/Structure:%20/2009/02/24/skype-steals-bandwidth-%E2%80%94-even-when-you-are-not-using-it/ [blorge.com]

          Dude, that's explained right there in the FAQ. Skype uses a peer-to-peer model for routing call traffic. It's no different than a torrent client in that respect.

          But the main thing I didn't like about either is that they are clo

          • Well, good thing you don't use any instant messaging platforms, right? Or make a call on a POTS line or a cell phone? Or send a text message?

            Not the original poster, but:

            I use XMPP. I run my own server and I can chat with anyone using any XMPP server connected to the Internet. Quite a few of my contacts use the one operated by Google (a few have their own domain and point it at Google's server, so they can move if they stop trusting Google without any of their contacts knowing or caring). Some use the XMPP server run by my local university's computer society. Others use ones run by other organisations, and a few run their own. They can do

      • by Sloppy (14984)

        What the fuck is wrong with skype, exactly?

        Hi.

        Skype sucks because it is closed, and no one knows how it handles the key exchange. If Skype were serious about security, they could still be proprietary but would at least be open about exactly how the encryption works, and they would also almost certainly have a way for users to be their own trusted introducers so that people could use it with confidence that there is no MitM.

        But they don't, so they are very likely a trap. People have been bitching about thi

      • Sadly Skype has now crossed the divide and joined the establishment (evil telco's). Try using Skype on just about any cell phone and you'll find that they've done deals to force you onto 3G, voice minutes or some other evil trick to make sure they don't undermine telco profits - even on supposedly free platforms like Android where they have absolutely no obligation to do that. Why have they done it? Simple: they've sold their soul to deprive you of freedom and make a few cheap bucks for themselves. So

  • Friends? (Score:5, Funny)

    by DrData99 (916924) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @03:33PM (#33752352)
    OMG- Skype and Facebook are now Friends?!

    Like!
  • by dominion (3153) on Thursday September 30, 2010 @03:34PM (#33752368) Homepage

    I haven't checked recently, but what's the status of voip over jabber? We've seeing a lot of collusion and conglomeration between monolithic "walled garden" services, and I think we'll see more of it. The open source community has alternatives, but I'm starting to think we're going to have to step up our game to fight the momentum that the closed systems have.

    I think it's positive that Diaspora was able to raise $200k through crowd-sourcing, and I don't agree with people who say it was a waste of money, if only because it showed it was possible. But the reality is that $200k is pennies in comparison to the funds that Facebook, Skype, and others have. And I think it's fair to say that for every talented, idealistic open source programmer willing to work on the side to open the up communication channels, whether it's the web or voip or anything else, there's dozens of talented developers willing to take large salaries to work on proprietary, walled software.

    We seem to have solved a lot of the questions that open source brought up when it was first popularized by Linux (management, how to make a profit, etc), but we still have some big questions to ask in terms of how to fund these projects while maintaining independence, and how to compete with well-funded corporations that have an invested interest in keeping things proprietary and walled off. Not just on features, but on user interface and experience, stability, scalability, and other software design concerns.

    I don't know if I have any answers, but I'd sure love to hear suggestions. Call it the next big challenge for open source, but we increasingly need to be able to make user-facing software that appeals to the least savvy of users, we need to make it open and flexible, and we need to make it compete with the cycle of new features that come out of proprietary software with massive bank accounts.

    --
    Appleseed - Open Source, Distributed Social Networking
    http://opensource.appleseedproject.org/ [appleseedproject.org]

    • by zash.se (1342685)

      what's the status of voip over jabber?

      Jingle works fine and is supported by a couple of clients, including Pidgin, Empathy, Gajim and Google Talk.

    • by phorm (591458)

      Now all we need is a jabber server that isn't a huge PITA to setup for authentication etc etc.

      Seriously, I got jabber to authenticate against an LDAP but it was a huge amount of hackery to do so. The thought of trying to add VOIP and/or H264 video capabilities into the mix is scary, much as I'd love to do so...

    • by melikamp (631205)

      There are already secure GPLed VOIP clients, several of them. They are all internet-only, afaik, and that's the way it should be, if you think about it for about 4 seconds. Let the copper and the cells die already: their architecture and/or protocols are vastly inferior to the internet's for every purpose imaginable.

      There is already a "social networking app" that is infinitely more configurable than all the commercial ones put together, and has bullet-proof security. It's called Apache.

      There is IM alrea

    • ... and doesn't know it.

      Take a look - a good, long, look - at the posts here.

      If you despise the masses, the software and services they use, you are not going to accomplish anything.

      iOS tops Linux [netmarketshare.com]

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      "what's the status of voip over jabber"

      Except for GTalk, text over Jabber is still on life support.

  • This would make a lot of sense if the rumours about facebook making its own phone are true. This way you get a new phone, login to FB on it and it's setup. This is actually really similar to how motoblur (android) works. Except in this case, all phone calls would also be VoIP, thus potentially making the first all data phone!

    Oh how I can't wait until we don't need voice plans anymore, and it's 100% data for everything. I'm also waiting for cable TV to take the big one though, and everyone just has internet,

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rtaylor (70602)

      Of course, you will still want to have high-priority and low-priority data. So your voice communications data will still be purchased in a different lump than your regular "whenever you get to it" data.

      • by Klinky (636952)

        No, there is no need for your ISP to prioritize your VoIP traffic on their end. This should all be done on your home network in your router. QoS needs to improve in home routers & even hacker friendly routers based on OpenWRT like Tomato or DD-WRT have broken QoS implementations. There may be special situations where a higher level service is required, but for the vast majority of consumers hooking up with a decent quality VoIP provider and using a decent router w/ QoS will provide excellent service. Ev

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Who needs a voice plan? I certainly don't. It would be FAR cheaper if I didn't have one. Ah, and there's the rub. The current cell phone companies will fight the affordable data only plan on anything resembling a phone until they're dead and buried with the bones salted and burned.

  • Skype and eBay! OMG OMG OMG!!!!! People are generally lazy and it's easier to just call someone using their cell phone. I give it 3 months until they break up. (unlike)
  • Such an agreement would give both Skype and Facebook not only a leg up on rival VoIP and social networking services from the likes of Google

    I can already use gmail to make free calls to real phone numbers. This move seems more like playing catchup than anything else.

  • ...Google started crying about antitrust issues.

  • People still use facebook?
  • until google can match skype's capabilities. i don't trust anyone who negotiates with facebook.

  • And just in time for the Movie, featuring Justin Timberlake and Jesse Eisenberg. No sacarcasm here. This is actually happening.
  • I like SIP because it is a open standard, and I do not use Skype because there is no free software which allows me to talk to those who are using it. If Facebook and Skype teams up then that will likely make it even more the de-facto standard like MSN is for IM and it will probably be the total nail in the coffin for SIP. I see this as very bad news indeed.
    • SIP is the best quality solution but you have to realise that setting up a sip account is beyond the ability of most ordinary people.

      I have a lot of friends who use facebook and very few use Skype even less who use sip. If Skype becomes as easy as go to your facebook page then the number of people i know using skype wouldnt double it would be around 10 -20 times as many.

      people in general are scared of computers, and don't want to install anything.

      In an ideal world Facebook and Skype would be going nowhere a

      • SIP is the best quality solution but you have to realise that setting up a sip account is beyond the ability of most ordinary people.

        How stupid are the ordinary people where you live? Because with my SIP provider you have several options:

        1. You buy a hardware handset from them, which comes preconfigured with your account settings.
        2. You download their Windows app, which comes preconfigured with you account settings.
        3. You configure your own app with their assistance.

        I chose option 3, and use the SIP client that came with my mobile phone. The provider gave me step-by-step instructions, including screenshots of every step of the process wit

        • Let me put it this way on facebook i have a number of friends most of which i have been out with, partied with over the years and even baby sat their kids (we are not teenagers any more).

          If I wanted to chat about something computing related lets say java or netbeans the number that have a background to do so is zero. When chatting most use facebook chat and are a bit put out when its not working right which seems to be fairly regular. The number that use Skype is one or two and sip: non-existant.

          Intelligenc

  • I am both a Skype and Facebook user. This move will mean that I'll stop using Skype. Maybe Google Voice will pick me up as a user, maybe someone else. I don't want my facebook tied to skype or anything else. I won't log onto another website with my facebook account. I won't use google mail, because I use google search....and so on. All these companies are bad enough on their own. This drive to merge, will only drive me away. Every time I read a story like this, I end up googling for disapora (only to see th

    • by mjwx (966435)

      I am both a Skype and Facebook user. This move will mean that I'll stop using Skype. Maybe Google Voice will pick me up as a user, maybe someone else. I don't want my facebook tied to skype or anything else. I won't log onto another website with my facebook account. I won't use google mail, because I use google search....and so on. All these companies are bad enough on their own. This drive to merge, will only drive me away. Every time I read a story like this, I end up googling for disapora (only to see th

  • As long as I can continue to use my beloved Skype without touching that pariah called Facebook I don't care what they do together. The first time they require a Facebook login or some such nonsense will be the end of my long and mutually profitable venture with Skype.

  • I don't know if there's any paid subscription with Facebook. But, I currently pay Skype with my Credit Card. I don't know who keeps this information (e.g. if Skype) keeps in database. Would this merger not give Facebook to link its users with their credit card info? Certainly, with the amount of info kept on FB, the CC info if kept by Skype and all the phone numbers you call, it doesn't seem to be a good mix of sharing of information.

  • I use Skype almost daily to video chat with someone on the opposite side of the earth. Not sure why there are so many haters - I know there are problems with the company and I wish it was more open, but for most people (including Linux users as they do have an official Linux client) it's an incredibly useful service that just works.

    Anyway at my end, I use a macbook pro and since I'm on slashdot you might guess I have no problem doing anything on computers. But, at the other end is someone with much less edu

    • by walshy007 (906710)

      Not sure why there are so many haters - I know there are problems with the company and I wish it was more open, but for most people (including Linux users as they do have an official Linux client) it's an incredibly useful service that just works.

      There are so many haters because skype doesn't use an open protocol, won't play nice with other voip providers, etc. All proper commercial setups run sip, that they don't segregates professional voip with end user stuff which is very inconvenient.

  • why I was getting spam from facebook to the unique email address I gave skype - spamfromskype@mydomain ...

  • Two of the worst customer service companies in existence. About the only way to contact either company is through a class action lawyer.

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