A feature that has been rumoured for a while now was released last week ending the speculation about the ‘awesome new product’ event; Facebook now has video calling integrated in the form of Skype. The event seemed to be announced after Google+ was with many tech bloggers suggesting that Facebook was scared of what the search companies new social networking product was and had pushed this forward to try and steal some of the thunder. Google+’s own video chat feature is called ‘Hangouts’ which is a revolutionary group chat. Facebook’s video chat doesn’t support group chats yet, but when asked if Facebook will be rolling out group video calling, Zuckerberg said not to rule anything out. He added that one-to-one calling makes up the vast majority of video calling.
Now, whenever you browse to a friend’s profile, you’ll see a new button nestled between the ‘Message’ and ‘Poke’ buttons that says ‘Call’. Click that, the other user will see a popup asking if they want to accept a call, and you’ll be immediately connected. You will need to install a small plugin the first time you use the service which is a java based applet that connects to Skype.
However, In a number of days the spammers were at it already. This first one doesn’t do any real malicious damage but no doubt others will in the days and weeks to come.
This particular scam doesn’t use the actual Facebook video service itself but relies on peoples current unfamiliarity with the new service.There’s a legitimate way to sign up for Facebook Video Calling, where you’re asked to download a program from the official Facebook Video Calling page, and then the chat window asks you to configure a few Flash settings.
don't accept, if you see this page
This one behaves as if the Video Calling is just simply another app installed in the usual way. It asks for your personal information, the ability to post messages to your wall, read your posts(?) and to do all of this any time it likes… If you accept then it simply spams your friends and leads you to the ubiquitous surveys to fill out and generate referral fees for the criminals. So if you see a wall post referencing “Enable video calls.”, don’t click it! Send your friend a message that they have been tricked.
After rumours were circulating that Google and Facebook were interested in purchasing Skype, Microsoft swooped in and purchased it for $8.5 Billion… Yes that’s right Billion. In more recent years, Microsoft seems to have been content taking a care-taking role in OS and Office development but first there was Windows 7, then Kinect and now this… It is of course likely that Microsoft bought it purely to stop the others from getting it.
Quite obviously aimed at implementation across PC, Xbox and Windows Mobile there was concern that Linux and Mac platforms would suffer due to this purchase but Microsoft has been quick to state that Skype would operate in it’s own division still headed by the current CEO and all platforms would remain supported (but Windows OS and devices first).
Integrating Skype into office may help the Enterprise IT departments accept the use of Skype in business but I think that it has put the tech community on edge for the moment until it is proved by Microsoft that they will honour their promises… Until then, Google Chat or FaceTime anyone?
While we are on the subject of Skype on Non-Microsoft platforms, ensure that your MAC OSX version is patched and up to date (you have to download it from the site, it doesn’t come down as an update as previous versions contain a recently discovered exploit that allows remote execution of a shell on your local machine.