Facebook dials in Skype video calling

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced the arrival of video chat, powered by Skype, into the social network.

Speaking via a stream that was broadcast on the Facebook Live channel, Zuckerberg's announcement was actually later than Facebook and Skype publishing the details on their respective blogs, such is Zuck's tendency to waffle on about graphs, trends and the like (he loves a good graph that boy).

Video calling will be available from within Facebook on your browser and Skype claims that it represents its "first big step on the Web".

The Skype video calling is embedded right into Facebook's UI and is an optimised version of the popular VoIP software.

There's no need to have Skype installed on your PC - simply sign into your Facebook chat and select call to video conference with your contacts straight away. It will need to download and install a plug-in first, but this is automatic and simple. You can even leave video messages if your pals aren't around to answer if you're calling them from within Skype (which already has Facebook chat integration).

And the best news is that video calling from Skype and Facebook is available now from www.facebook.com/videocalling.

As well as the video calling addition, Facebook has also added group chat and a new layout so the friends you chat with the most often are more prominent.

With Google+ offering group video chatting with Hangouts and mobile group chatting with Huddle - Facebook's announcement may have come a week too late... but it'll still be useful nevertheless; after all Google has a long way to go before it matches Facebook's 750 million users.