Skype users will now be able to sync their Facebook profile with their Skype account, providing one click video calling to friends on the social networking site.
The internet telephone tool has integrated the Facebook News Feed and its phone book into its service, in an attempt to boost the numbers of people using both its free Skype-to-Skype calls and its paid telephony service.
Contrary to predictions last month, Facebook users will not be able to use Skype’s service to make internet telephone calls and send text messages from their profile pages.
However, Mike Bartlett, Skype’s director of product management, said that this integration between the two firms, was “just the first stages” of the relationship.
Skype has added a Facebook tab to its desktop service, which shows both the network’s ‘News Feed’ and phone book.
A Skype user can only make a free video call with a Facebook friend if they are also a Skype contact.
If they are a Facebook friend, but not a Skype contact, their phone number will surface in the News Feed and phone book in Skype (if they have added these details to their Facebook profile information) and a Skype user can call them, on their landlines or mobile, for the standard Skype credit and subscription rates.
The integration goes live today. Bartlett called Facebook the most “important social platform in the world”.
He said: “We have seen Facebook growing hugely as a social platform and we wanted to strike the balance between our calling capabilities and social capabilities – which we believe this partnership will do.
Rather than create social functions ourselves, it made much more sense to partner with Facebook. It’s a natural marriage.”
No money has exchanged hands between Facebook and Skype. The partnership, according to Skype’s spokesperson, is a “typical Connect platform” arrangement, with the exception that Facebook has allowed Skype access to its phonebook data.
A Skype spokesman added: “We hope that the integration will make it a lot easier for our users to find more people that they can connect with.”
The integration is part of Skype’s 5.0 update, which also includes the roll out of its new group calling feature, to all users, on a 28 day free trial basis.
Skype launched group calls in beta to a limited group of users earlier this year, but has now opened up the service to its whole userbase.
Skype plans on charging for the group calls feature, but has yet to announce the date it will begin charging. The tool will remain in beta while the team continue tweaking the product.