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Facebook-Skype deal must go beyond voice chat

If rumors are correct, Facebook will be partnering with Skype to let you talk with your friends on the site.
If rumors are correct, Facebook will be partnering with Skype to let you talk with your friends on the site.
  • A rumored deal would enable Skype calling between Facebook friends
  • Skype's following is already huge, but a connection to Facebook wouldn't hurt
  • Users would also be able to use Facebook Chat over a browser to cell phones

Editor's note: Damon Brown is a Northern California-based freelance writer and author of books, including "Damon Brown's Simple Guide to the iPad" and the forthcoming "The Complete Idiot's Guide To Memes," about why certain things go viral online.

(CNN) -- The last couple of weeks have been busy ones for news about Facebook. "The Social Network" movie hit theaters, CEO Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million on Oprah and, if rumors are correct, the world's biggest social-networking site will be partnering with online phone service Skype to help you chat with your Facebook friends through the site.

According to All Things D's Kara Swisher, Facebook and Skype are about to announce a partnership that includes "integration of SMS, voice chat and Facebook Connect."

It's not clear exactly what this deal would entail, but possibilities include Facebook Chat over a browser to cell phones, and video chat among Facebook friends.

The question is: Do people actually want to interact with their Facebook friends on a more intimate level?

According to Facebook, the average user has 130 friends. But these connections likely include your ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends, casual acquaintances and maybe even that weird person who sat behind you in seventh-grade biology -- in other words, not necessarily people you'll want to chat with on the phone.

Skype already has a huge following, but a connection to a 500-million-member social network wouldn't hurt. Skype's appeal overseas also would make Facebook much more attractive abroad.

But to truly succeed, the partnership will have to go beyond voice chat, because people already can use Skype to talk to people they really care about.


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