Facebook's 750m users around the world will now be able to chat with each other on camera, after the social networking giant announced a partnership with internet telephony pioneer Skype.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said the website wants to be "the social infrastructure" on which companies such as Skype build future products.
And he tried out a new theme that looks likely to be central to Facebook's pitch to investors next year: it is not the number of users that the site has that is important, it is the amount of time they spend and the number of things they share while logged in.
Facebook users will be able to video call with each other at the click of a button, said Mr Zuckerberg, with only a few seconds delay the first time they operate the application.
"This type of thing is only possible because the social infrastructure already exists.
"It's not the same as traditional Skype where both people have to have downloaded Skype beforehand," he said, and explained why Facebook itself had not developed its own web chat software: "We want to leave all the different types of apps to independent entrepreneurs and companies that are going to be best in class. They will always do better than a company that is trying to do a million things."
Tony Bates, Skype's chief executive, appeared alongside Mr Zuckerberg at yesterday's product unveiling, and said he expected a big jump in traffic from the two companies' tie-up. "We get huge reach," he said. "There's no finer platform to stick your technology on top of."
Skype currently has around 170m users, and carries 300m minutes of video per month. It said it did not know how many of its users overlap with Facebook users.
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