Facebook to offer voice calls?

The company is reportedly working with Skype to allow members to call and video chat with each other.

By Kim Peterson Sep 29, 2010 3:47PM
Telephone © CorbisThe battle between Google (GOOG) and Skype just ratcheted up a notch with Facebook's entry into the fray.

Recall that Google recently launched voice calling from Gmail, allowing (through the end of the year, at least) people to make free calls from their Gmail page. I've been using that feature daily to make free long-distance calls from my computer.

Some thought the new service was the death knell for online calling service Skype. But Skype showed Wednesday that it's very much in the game with an alliance with Facebook (also known as Google enemy No. 1).

The Wall Street Journal has news of a nascent partnership that will allow people to access Skype through their Facebook Connect accounts. If the plan goes through as reported, users will eventually be able to call and video chat with friends on the Facebook page, using Skype.

The new Facebook abilities are expected to be included in Skype's newest version, due out in the next few weeks, the Journal reported. Post continues after video:
"The partnership will more tightly link Skype's 560 million registered users -- 124 million of whom use it at least once a month -- with Facebook's 500 million members," writes Scott Morrison.

The move shows that Facebook wants to be exactly where Google is in the future, particularly as Google starts expanding to become more of a social media and communications hub. And the news is good for Skype as well, which is looking for a $100 million IPO at some point.
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