Today Facebook made a number of announcements, none of which were necessarily a surprise to those who follow the rumour mill closely.

Firstly a redesign of the chat feature with a subtle change showing those you interact with most at the top of the list; next, and perhaps a little more useful, the option of group chatting enabling several of your 'friends' on FB to chat simultaneously.

Possibly the biggest news, and linked to chatting, is the inclusion of video calling driven directly within Facebook.  There are few details from them at present other than it being a collusion with Skype (As at May 2011 Skype was bought by Microsoft for a tremendous USD $8.5 billon!)

Given that Facebook has a reported 750 million users, and Skype a mere 170 million, one wonders where Skype are going with this.  Equally, how do Microsoft slot in to the new FB/Skype collaboration?

Until now Skype has made most of its cash from selling 'minutes' allowing Skype callers to skype-out to landlines and mobiles.  With the introduction of FB video calling how will Skype make money from the service.  I am sure FB will have agreed a license to use the technology and no doubt quite a chunk of money has changed hands, but will the loyal FB users want to pay for extra Skype type features?

FB prides itself on accessibility on the move  -- you can interact using a browser, a smart phone and SMS texting.  What of Video chatting? Will this be a browser only option?

Much has been written on the security and privacy concerns within FB and their track record.  Also  scandal on sex-chatting with teenagers; does this new Video Chatting now make it too easy to encourage the more gullible user to engage in lewd video calls?

For me, I never use FB chat -- it's too intrusive.  I want to go onto FB, update and reply to posts then finish.  I do not want people popping up for a chat, or worse still appearing on my screen.

FB hope to roll it out to most of the user base in the next few weeks.

I wonder how useful this will be?  How often do you actually use the chat feature?  Do you use FB Chat?

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