Social media just got a whole lot more social and Facebook’s name took on a new meaning with the brand new video chat service now available to Facebook’s 750 million users. Not sure how it works or to add it to your account? I’ve put together a how-to for you.
This is a partnership between the biggest names in social media, Facebook and Skype, the Internet video and phone service. To get Facebook Video Calling working with your Facebook account couldn’t be simpler. Log in and then go to this special Facebook Page and follow the instructions to download a little application that attaches to your account. Then, look for your Facebook friends who are online… click the little camera icon at the top of their profile or chat window and, if they answer, you’re connected, no matter where they are in the world. You can only video chat with one person at a time, though competition from the brand new Google+ service which allows 10 video chat widows will likely force Facebook to soon follow.
Alas, Facebook video does not work with mobile phones…. Yet… you need a computer and wi-fi connection for best results. But a new group chat feature that lets you text chat with up to 10 people does work on mobile phones.
Here’s Q&A and how-to info directly from Facebook:
Video calling allows you to talk to your friends face to face. All you need to do is complete a quick, one-time setup, and you’re ready to call any friend on Facebook. If your friend isn’t available, you can always leave a video message.
How it works: If you and your friend both have webcams and microphones set up, you will be able to see and hear each other in real time. If you call friends who don’t have webcams, they’ll be able to see and hear you but you’ll only be able to hear them.
Call records: The time and date of each call you make is listed in your ongoing message history with each friend. The calls themselves are not recorded or saved.
Multi-tasking: You can continue using chat and other Facebook features during your video call.
Before you can call your friends, you need to complete a quick, one-time setup:
- You will be asked to complete the setup the first time you try to call a friend, or the first time a friend tries to call you. To call a friend, click the video icon at the top of your chat window.
- Simply click the “Set Up” button and follow the instructions for how to set up video calling on your browser.
- Once you’ve successfully completed the setup, the call you’ve started with your friend should connect automatically. If it doesn’t, you can call again by clicking the video icon at the top of your chat window.
After you complete the quick, one-time setup, you’re ready to make your first call:
- Visit your friend’s profile and click the “Call” button in the top right corner. If you and your friend are already chatting, you can also click the video icon at the top of your chat window.
- When your friend answers, you may have to wait a moment for your call to connect before the video call begins. If your friend hasn’t set up video calling yet, you’ll be asked to wait until the setup is complete.
- If your friend is unavailable, you can leave a video message. The time and date of your missed call will be listed in your ongoing message history with your friend.
Having trouble? Make sure your webcam and microphone are both up and running, then try again.
You can see if a friend is available by entering their name at the bottom of the chat list on the right side of the page. Friends that appear online in chat are also available for video calls. A green dot next to a friend’s name means they’re online and a moon icon means they’re online but inactive. Just like with chat, only your confirmed friends can call you on Facebook. You also have the option to ignore any call you receive.
If you want to block a friend or group of friends from calling or chatting with you:
- Create a friend list that includes the people you’d like to prevent from chatting with you.
- Click the settings icon in the right corner of the chat list.
- Select “Edit Availability…”
- Check the box next to the friend list you’d like to appear unavailable to and click “Close”. You will no longer appear online to these friends.