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Facebook, Skype Getting Really Friendly

CmdrTaco posted about 4 years ago | from the can-you-hear-me-now dept.

Communications 119

cgriffin21 writes "Facebook and Skype are reportedly in talks over a deal that would integrate Skype calling capabilities into Facebook user accounts. Such an agreement would give both Skype and Facebook not only a leg up on rival VoIP and social networking services from the likes of Google, but also the combined force of two Internet-based services beloved by consumers. The talks, which were reported by All Things Digital on Wednesday, stem from Facebook's goal of merging IP communications and social networking communities more closely together. Facebook in recent weeks had also been rumored to be developing a mobile device of its own."

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Two services loved by dolts... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33752156)

Oh you said consumers. Carry on then.

Re:Two services loved by sheeple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33752760)

(twiting) I'm going crap. Baaaa
(FB'ing) He's a pic of me on the throne!! Baaa

Looks like their target customers are from "Jersey Shore"

Re:Two services loved by dolts... (2, Insightful)

egamma (572162) | about 4 years ago | (#33753274)

Oh you said consumers. Carry on then.

And you don't consume? You don't eat food from the store, you grew your own laptop in your garden?

"Consumer" includes everyone on this planet, with the exception of people who get 100% of the clothes, food, and other stuff from nature.

Keep in mind, Einstein and Hawking are/were both consumers. Even Thoreau bought nails and a hammer to build his shack with.

Re:Two services loved by dolts... (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | about 4 years ago | (#33753506)

You don't GROW laptops. Geez. No, obviously he mined all the metals and drilled for all the petroleum, smelted the metals, refined the oil to plastic, and hand built his system. He's very proud of it. It's the equivalent of a 386, and it only took him 24 years to make.

Re:Two services loved by dolts... (1)

zblack_eagle (971870) | about 4 years ago | (#33754584)

I (at least these days) always think of the business concept of a "consumer" as being a thoughtless, emotion-driven automaton that exists solely to purchase goods and services provided by businesses, mainly because of the language used that refers to "consumers" in such contexts.

But yeah, we (almost all) consume in the sense that we buy stuff. Technically, growing your own stuff consumes resources too.

Perhaps I'm just being pedantic.

Re:Two services loved by dolts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33754112)

Skype loved by dolts? Are you fucking retarded?

beloved? (2, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | about 4 years ago | (#33752214)

>but also the combined force of two Internet-based services beloved by consumers.

I'll leave it to someone else to do the Princess Bride thing?

In Soviet Russia, skype and facebook consume YOU!

Re:beloved? (3, Informative)

Zouden (232738) | about 4 years ago | (#33752656)

I know it's hip to hate on Facebook (and Skype too? Why not) but don't fool yourself into thinking that those services aren't enormously popular worldwide. For many people, keeping in touch with loved ones is are the most important thing they do with their computers.

Re:beloved? (4, Funny)

e065c8515d206cb0e190 (1785896) | about 4 years ago | (#33752748)

I also keep in touch with my loved ones on my computer.

Just not in the same way...

Re:beloved? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about 4 years ago | (#33753114)

Ugh... Just make sure to put your pants back on before you video chat with grandma.

Re:beloved? (1)

PerfectionLost (1004287) | about 4 years ago | (#33753382)

I didn't know your grandmother used chatroulette.

Re:beloved? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#33753176)

...And how is that? Look, a ton of people are on Facebook and they are easy to find and people are on there often. Ok, sure, if you only communicate with a few people, yeah, e-mail and phone calls will work, but that doesn't always scale. For one, e-mails oftentimes fail for one reason or another (spam filters, people don't check e-mails often, it gets ignored, etc), even international texting rates are insanely expensive, if you want to talk to someone in another country, you can't just call them on the phone. Instant messengers are good to a point but then have the problem of having different accounts, for example Joe Smith might be SmithJoe@hotmail.com for his MSN, JoeDawggx11 for his AIM and have a ICQ number of 234234234234. So depending on your IM client of choice you will have a number of different usernames which can be a pain to keep track of. Plus, the chances of you convincing your friend they need to get MSN/AIM/ICQ to chat with you is pretty slim, or they will install it then promptly never log on again.

Lets face it, if you want to talk to someone, the best chances of you being able to do it is via Facebook if you can't meet face-to-face or you/them don't want to pay for calls/texts.

Re:beloved? (1)

CaptCovert (868609) | about 4 years ago | (#33753992)

So, IM clients, with the varied accounts are hard to keep track of, but social media sites aren't? Facebook is pretty popular these days, but a lot of people also have some combination of MySpace, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Everyone has their favorite, so it's not to difficult to find out that someone will get do the same thing to Facebook that they do to MSN: Download it, friend you, and never log in again.

Re:beloved? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33753206)

Because popularity always means quality.

Re:beloved? (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | about 4 years ago | (#33753520)

Don't think anyone actually said that it does. In fact, cheap and easy often wins out over quality. Like how your mom ever got laid.

Re:beloved? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33753504)

Widely used != Beloved.

PS. Its hip to tell people they hate Facebook just because they want to be hip. That way you don't have to admit that your beloved Facebook sucks for a wide variety of legitimate reasons

Re:beloved? (1)

CentTW (1882968) | about 4 years ago | (#33753598)

Widely used is not synonymous with beloved. The local DMV is widely used, but you'll be hard pressed to find anyone calling it beloved.

About two months ago there was a Slashdot [slashdot.org] article indicating that on average, people are very dissatisfied with Facebook, but they keep using it because Facebook is a de facto monopoly, thanks to the network effect.

Personally, I can't stand Facebook, but I use it because I've got too many friends who refuse to respond to email. I'll continue to hate on it until they solve the following obvious problems

  • Provide a convincing reason why I should trust them with my personal data. Facebook has had a terrible history with privacy, and I'm at the point where I'd rather trust nearly anyone else over Facebook
  • Provide privacy settings that are easy to use, intuitive, and complete (Especially settings involving others posting and tagging photos of you in them)
  • Intelligent, easy to use scheduling features to encourage more "in person" social time. (Facebook "Events" are terrible.)
  • Provide easier to use methods of separating "Friends" into different groups. Before making any posting, let the sender me choose who it is going to. (Don't default to everyone)
  • No, I don't care about everyone's status update. Please don't flood my news with this
  • Applications should not have the ability to spam friends lists

I really don't think that these things are too much to ask for a webpage that has more users than there are citizens in the United States

Re:beloved? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33753770)

The local DMV is widely used, but you'll be hard pressed to find anyone calling it beloved.

Suddenly, I just realized: next time I go to my DMV, I'm bringing a bunch of roses and candy to spread around. They'll be laughing about it for weeks.

Re:beloved? (1)

Daengbo (523424) | about 4 years ago | (#33753712)

Entirely too popular. Match the largest (maybe monopoly) consumer social network with the largest (also possibly a monopoly) consumer VOIP, and what do you get? It can't be good.

Re:beloved? (1)

Daengbo (523424) | about 4 years ago | (#33753776)

Oh, and one more thing: if we went federated social with XMPP instead of FB, the VOIP and video would already be available with no work. In fact, FB exposes XMPP so they should be able to get voice/video pretty easily, too. Why do they need Skype?

Re:beloved? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about 4 years ago | (#33754488)

Because XMPP is just a protocol and they need software - and Skype (the company) has a team with years of experience of developing VoIP software for the consumer market (as in, not business) with social networking capabilities and a most recognize brand in the sector (Works with Skype(TM) is very common nowadays).

Re:beloved? (1)

Infernal Device (865066) | about 4 years ago | (#33754274)

That's great.

Doesn't mean I want the two services married to one another.

In fact, I don't really want them touching each other with a 10K foot pole.

Re:beloved? (1)

Spatial (1235392) | about 4 years ago | (#33752666)

Not just in Soviet Russia. You are the product being sold to their advertisers.

Magic (2, Interesting)

SGDarkKnight (253157) | about 4 years ago | (#33752226)

I wonder what impact this might have on magic jack. I've used that service far more than any other type of online communications. It also has a nice feature of letting me take it oversea's and as long as i have a high speed connection, i can still make any phone calls back to north america for free.

Re:Magic (4, Funny)

ZeroFactorial (1025676) | about 4 years ago | (#33752492)

I'll tell you what it's going to do; it's going to Slap Chop your little Magic Jack into the afterlife, where it will meet Billy Mays, dressed in OxyClean bleached ultra-white angel clothes, buffing his harp with a ShamWow, and re-affixing it to his head with some Mighty Putty.

Re:Magic (2, Funny)

Nadaka (224565) | about 4 years ago | (#33753138)

...angel clothes...

You fail. He would obviously be wearing a snuggy.

Re:Magic (1)

ZeroFactorial (1025676) | about 4 years ago | (#33753244)

I stand corrected. Clearly your knowledge of "As seen of TV" products far surpasses my own. ;)

Re:Magic (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about 4 years ago | (#33753554)

Insomnia. It has its benefits...

Wait... No, I doesn't. My mind bleeds that I am now aware of the the new festive animal print snuggies. ;)

Facebook beloved? (4, Funny)

synthesizerpatel (1210598) | about 4 years ago | (#33752254)

About as much as Friendster, Myspace, Orkut, and Tribes and Geocities were I guess..

If this trend continues interest in disco music will continue to sky-rocket!

Re:Facebook beloved? (3, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | about 4 years ago | (#33752686)

Well, given FB has been around for 6 years, now, and shows absolutely no signs of decline, I think it might be a little early to declare its demise, even if Netcraft confirms it...

Re:Facebook beloved? (2, Interesting)

countSudoku() (1047544) | about 4 years ago | (#33753632)

It just hasn't peaked yet. You'll see. Facebook is the flavor of the month and it WILL go the way of myspace. It's just not going to have legs to stand on when people tire of the lack of attention to it's basic features, security, and all the attention on adding the latest answers to questions not asked; geolocating me and my stupid posts, unwanted tagging, badly integrated media types, shitty apps filled with malware and ads, etc. Yeah, Grandma and Grandpa are going to be "sticky" to facebook in two years time with their HUGE Farmvilles! Would you also like to send me $6000 to help me unblock my Nigerian back account lottery winnings?

Facebook will be around as long as their scam fools the general population. "Like" that, Saddos!

Re:Facebook beloved? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33754276)

If this trend continues interest in disco music will continue to sky-rocket!

Why not? We already voted for Jimmy Carter II

I wont use facebook (3, Interesting)

droidsURlooking4 (1543007) | about 4 years ago | (#33752280)

One more reason to dump skype for a truly private VoIP solution. Still waiting..

Re:I wont use facebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33753172)

I chat with family using SIP. Suits us fine.

Yay! (1)

spleen_blender (949762) | about 4 years ago | (#33752298)

Awesome! When Facebook crashes and burns it'll also hurt Skype! Two birds, one stone.

yuck (1)

hey (83763) | about 4 years ago | (#33752306)

Facebook: yuck
Skype: yuck
Facebook + Skype: yyuucckk

Re:yuck (2)

Abcd1234 (188840) | about 4 years ago | (#33752726)

Huh? What the fuck is wrong with skype, exactly? Or are you just hating on it by default because it's, like, all popular and mainstream and stuff, maaaan.

Re:yuck (2, Insightful)

Joe Tie. (567096) | about 4 years ago | (#33752772)

I use linux on the desktop and android on my phone. The annoyances skype has provided between those two are so huge I don't know where to start.

Re:yuck (-1, Offtopic)

Abcd1234 (188840) | about 4 years ago | (#33752942)

Okay, but a) I wasn't talking to you, and b) I'm not sure I give a shit about your grievances with individual client implementations.

And as an aside, Skype on Linux works just fine, I use it all the time. Skype on the iPhone, also very good. Android? No idea, and frankly, I don't really care.

Re:yuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33753308)

Your post = win

Re:yuck (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about 4 years ago | (#33754512)

I wasn't talking to you

Slashdot article comments: the best place to have private conversations!

Re:yuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33753734)

I use linux on the desktop and android on my phone.

You could have just said I use Linux on my desktop and my phone.

Sorry :) I couldn't let that slide.

Re:yuck (2, Interesting)

Duradin (1261418) | about 4 years ago | (#33752984)

This is /., Skype is, dare I say it, I dare, fashionable. /. has a raging hate-on for anything deemed fashionable. Except for being fashionable by hating anything else that's fashionable. That sort of fashionable is A-OK.

Re:yuck (0, Offtopic)

Abcd1234 (188840) | about 4 years ago | (#33753102)

IOW, Slashbots are the hipsters of the geek world.

Gotcha.

Re:yuck (1)

koiransuklaa (1502579) | about 4 years ago | (#33753112)

Enforcing any kind of sane network security policy with skype is impossible.

Verifying Skype message security is very difficult: we just have to take their word for it.

Skype head of security said "I will not say if we are listening in or not" when asked about eavesdropping. Apparently they have the means anyway.

Oh, and the most important thing: why the fuck would anyone want to give control of a communication network to a single company when it's not physically required? That makes no sense.

Re:yuck (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | about 4 years ago | (#33753210)

Enforcing any kind of sane network security policy with skype is impossible.

How is it any better or worse than any other peer-to-peer application? Honestly, I don't know, I've never had to deal with Skype on that level.

Verifying Skype message security is very difficult: we just have to take their word for it. ...

Skype head of security said "I will not say if we are listening in or not" when asked about eavesdropping. Apparently they have the means anyway. ...

why the fuck would anyone want to give control of a communication network to a single company

So, I can only assume you don't use IM (Google Chat, AIM, Facebook chat, or IRC) or SMS, nor do you make use of, say, an ISP or telephony company, right?

Re:yuck (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about 4 years ago | (#33754628)

Google Chat uses XMPP, and you can talk to their users without being part of their network.

The Google Talk network supports open interoperability with hundreds of other communications service providers through a process known as federation. This means that a user on one service can communicate with users on another service without needing to sign up for, or sign in with, each service.

IRC networks like EFnet also have plenty of federated servers with different admins; and others, like OFTC are managed by non-profits like SPI and their "officers" are elected.

SMS, TCP/IP and phone can also enjoy the same feature. This way, you can switch providers and still be able to talk to all your contacts.

Skype doesn't talk to any other network, locking you in. The same is true for Facebook. It's completely different, because when they reach a certain size, they become de-facto monopolies.

Re:yuck (1)

zash.se (1342685) | about 4 years ago | (#33753122)

Skype is proprietary, uses a proprietary protocol and has taken extreme measures to obfuscate their traffic and functioning of their program. And the Linux version is just horrible in every way possible.

Re:yuck (1)

hey (83763) | about 4 years ago | (#33753194)

I notice you didn't ask what was wrong with Facebook ;)

On Skype...

There's this
http://tech.blorge.com/Structure:%20/2009/02/24/skype-steals-bandwidth-%E2%80%94-even-when-you-are-not-using-it/ [blorge.com]

But the main thing I didn't like about either is that they are closed. There are fine open VoIP standards but Skype doesn't use them.

Re:yuck (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | about 4 years ago | (#33753264)

I notice you didn't ask what was wrong with Facebook ;)

Eh, everyone around here bitches about Facebook, I assumed you were just another griefer drone. *shrug*

There's this
http://tech.blorge.com/Structure:%20/2009/02/24/skype-steals-bandwidth-%E2%80%94-even-when-you-are-not-using-it/ [blorge.com]

Dude, that's explained right there in the FAQ. Skype uses a peer-to-peer model for routing call traffic. It's no different than a torrent client in that respect.

But the main thing I didn't like about either is that they are closed.

Well, good thing you don't use any instant messaging platforms, right? Or make a call on a POTS line or a cell phone? Or send a text message?

Re:yuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33753430)

Simmer down, fanboi cupcake, nobody meant to threaten your manhood.

Re:yuck (1)

Sloppy (14984) | about 4 years ago | (#33753916)

What the fuck is wrong with skype, exactly?

Hi.

Skype sucks because it is closed, and no one knows how it handles the key exchange. If Skype were serious about security, they could still be proprietary but would at least be open about exactly how the encryption works, and they would also almost certainly have a way for users to be their own trusted introducers so that people could use it with confidence that there is no MitM.

But they don't, so they are very likely a trap. People have been bitching about this for many years, so if they weren't broken, they would have defended themselves by now.

Re:yuck (1)

zuperduperman (1206922) | about 4 years ago | (#33754158)

Sadly Skype has now crossed the divide and joined the establishment (evil telco's). Try using Skype on just about any cell phone and you'll find that they've done deals to force you onto 3G, voice minutes or some other evil trick to make sure they don't undermine telco profits - even on supposedly free platforms like Android where they have absolutely no obligation to do that. Why have they done it? Simple: they've sold their soul to deprive you of freedom and make a few cheap bucks for themselves. So yes, they deserve to be trashed by any self respecting geek.

A business model (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33752308)

So is facebook actually trying to be profitable?

I think they are starting to realize if they went public with there stock it wouldn't be worth anything except the personnel info of over 500,000,000 people which is free anyways.

Re:A business model (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | about 4 years ago | (#33753760)

So is facebook actually trying to be profitable?

No, they're doing the same thing that's worked for them all along: locking entire communities into their platform.

Friends? (5, Funny)

DrData99 (916924) | about 4 years ago | (#33752352)

OMG- Skype and Facebook are now Friends?!

Like!

Re:Friends? (1)

melikamp (631205) | about 4 years ago | (#33752974)

Not until they are friends on Friendster.

Re:Friends? (1)

DrData99 (916924) | about 4 years ago | (#33753058)

But they were recently seen "napping" on Napster!

Re:Friends? (1)

Klinky (636952) | about 4 years ago | (#33753774)

Yeah but I think Skype now has a bad case of Diaspora...

Without open alternatives, this will continue... (2, Interesting)

dominion (3153) | about 4 years ago | (#33752368)

I haven't checked recently, but what's the status of voip over jabber? We've seeing a lot of collusion and conglomeration between monolithic "walled garden" services, and I think we'll see more of it. The open source community has alternatives, but I'm starting to think we're going to have to step up our game to fight the momentum that the closed systems have.

I think it's positive that Diaspora was able to raise $200k through crowd-sourcing, and I don't agree with people who say it was a waste of money, if only because it showed it was possible. But the reality is that $200k is pennies in comparison to the funds that Facebook, Skype, and others have. And I think it's fair to say that for every talented, idealistic open source programmer willing to work on the side to open the up communication channels, whether it's the web or voip or anything else, there's dozens of talented developers willing to take large salaries to work on proprietary, walled software.

We seem to have solved a lot of the questions that open source brought up when it was first popularized by Linux (management, how to make a profit, etc), but we still have some big questions to ask in terms of how to fund these projects while maintaining independence, and how to compete with well-funded corporations that have an invested interest in keeping things proprietary and walled off. Not just on features, but on user interface and experience, stability, scalability, and other software design concerns.

I don't know if I have any answers, but I'd sure love to hear suggestions. Call it the next big challenge for open source, but we increasingly need to be able to make user-facing software that appeals to the least savvy of users, we need to make it open and flexible, and we need to make it compete with the cycle of new features that come out of proprietary software with massive bank accounts.

--
Appleseed - Open Source, Distributed Social Networking
http://opensource.appleseedproject.org/ [appleseedproject.org]

Re:Without open alternatives, this will continue.. (1)

zash.se (1342685) | about 4 years ago | (#33753338)

what's the status of voip over jabber?

Jingle works fine and is supported by a couple of clients, including Pidgin, Empathy, Gajim and Google Talk.

Re:Without open alternatives, this will continue.. (1)

phorm (591458) | about 4 years ago | (#33753534)

Now all we need is a jabber server that isn't a huge PITA to setup for authentication etc etc.

Seriously, I got jabber to authenticate against an LDAP but it was a huge amount of hackery to do so. The thought of trying to add VOIP and/or H264 video capabilities into the mix is scary, much as I'd love to do so...

Re:Without open alternatives, this will continue.. (1)

melikamp (631205) | about 4 years ago | (#33753724)

There are already secure GPLed VOIP clients, several of them. They are all internet-only, afaik, and that's the way it should be, if you think about it for about 4 seconds. Let the copper and the cells die already: their architecture and/or protocols are vastly inferior to the internet's for every purpose imaginable.

There is already a "social networking app" that is infinitely more configurable than all the commercial ones put together, and has bullet-proof security. It's called Apache.

There is IM already, XMPP, which has great free clients and servers.

I will probably sound like a no-good elitist that I am, but lately I am becoming convinced that the main problem with the Free Software adoption is that most users are simply too passive or too inept when it comes to communicating with computers. They do not want to or are unable to take control solely due to their technical ineptitude. Many users treat computers as glorified TVs, or glorified filing cabinets, or glorified phones. They do not realize that personal computers are best employed as body-and-mind extensions, as tools so powerful, intelligent, and personal that one would be insane to allow some other party to read a single bit from one's RAM or to run a single instruction on one's CPU. Most people have that down with their thoughts: very few go around and spread true rumors about their personal lives and thoughts. For many, a torture would be needed before they divulge their secrets, and for some even that will fail.

But they don't treat their computers as parts of themselves, and they don't treat public terminals as persons. They prefer gesturing rather than talking (GUI vs. CLI), again, because they are just too lazy or too dumb to learn how to speak the language computers can understand. Of course they don't need free software: it has no intrinsic benefit for them. You can give them Ubuntu, and they will install Skype and Flash on it the very same day because they just don't want to care. They only switch to Free Software when their heads are on fire: when it becomes clear that a proprietary vendor completely shafted them by, say, locking in their data and then abandoning support. Or when they cannot afford the fees anymore. Or when the software just gets worse and worse every year, and one day the work which relies on it grinds to a halt. And right away they are faced with the fact that the Free Software is tailored to a person who cares about god damn control and ability to use the hardware and the software the way they want, which usually comes at the expense of users having to educate themselves about what a computer can and cannot do. And so they actually jump the ship at the first opportunity and leap back into the Big Brother's arms.

In light of the above, I can see only one effective way to bring the Free Software to the masses, and it is education. The software itself, while already superb, can be improved, but that alone won't even begin to close the gap.

The geek lives within his own walled garden... (1)

westlake (615356) | about 4 years ago | (#33754006)

... and doesn't know it.

Take a look - a good, long, look - at the posts here.

If you despise the masses, the software and services they use, you are not going to accomplish anything.

iOS tops Linux [netmarketshare.com]

Re:Without open alternatives, this will continue.. (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 4 years ago | (#33754526)

"what's the status of voip over jabber"

Except for GTalk, text over Jabber is still on life support.

Facebook phone (1)

iONiUM (530420) | about 4 years ago | (#33752444)

This would make a lot of sense if the rumours about facebook making its own phone are true. This way you get a new phone, login to FB on it and it's setup. This is actually really similar to how motoblur (android) works. Except in this case, all phone calls would also be VoIP, thus potentially making the first all data phone!

Oh how I can't wait until we don't need voice plans anymore, and it's 100% data for everything. I'm also waiting for cable TV to take the big one though, and everyone just has internet, and streams what they want via that to their TV a la netflix, or something else.

Re:Facebook phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33752508)

And all your calls will be recorded on Facebook's servers and datamined for the benefit of corporations and governments alike.

Re:Facebook phone (1)

iONiUM (530420) | about 4 years ago | (#33752530)

I'm uh, fairly certain if you live in the USA, that is already happening.

Re:Facebook phone (2, Insightful)

rtaylor (70602) | about 4 years ago | (#33752692)

Of course, you will still want to have high-priority and low-priority data. So your voice communications data will still be purchased in a different lump than your regular "whenever you get to it" data.

Re:Facebook phone (1)

Klinky (636952) | about 4 years ago | (#33754026)

No, there is no need for your ISP to prioritize your VoIP traffic on their end. This should all be done on your home network in your router. QoS needs to improve in home routers & even hacker friendly routers based on OpenWRT like Tomato or DD-WRT have broken QoS implementations. There may be special situations where a higher level service is required, but for the vast majority of consumers hooking up with a decent quality VoIP provider and using a decent router w/ QoS will provide excellent service. Even people without QoS get fine because they never use all their upstream bandwidth. I've never had an issue where I felt Comcast's network latency to my VoIP provider was a problem & if it was, the last thing I would be thinking would be "Boy, I wish I could give Comcast MORE money to fix their crappy network."

Tiered data will only allow for ISPs to gouge customers by lowering the quality of low-tiered services and anytime anything goes wrong they will present the ability to upgrade to a higher-tiered service for $$$. It'll be a great day when the internet is snuffed out because not only will we have bandwidth caps, but we'll have latency floors as well. Need sub 100ms latency? Upgrade to the Xtreme Gamer Package only $15 more? Got a VoIP phone, Voice Express service is only $19.99 for the first 6 months!

Re:Facebook phone (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 4 years ago | (#33754542)

Who needs a voice plan? I certainly don't. It would be FAR cheaper if I didn't have one. Ah, and there's the rub. The current cell phone companies will fight the affordable data only plan on anything resembling a phone until they're dead and buried with the bones salted and burned.

Yeah this sounded like a good idea too.... (1)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | about 4 years ago | (#33752502)

Skype and eBay! OMG OMG OMG!!!!! People are generally lazy and it's easier to just call someone using their cell phone. I give it 3 months until they break up. (unlike)

The wave of the future: (3, Funny)

M. Baranczak (726671) | about 4 years ago | (#33752600)

Twitter and Walmart.

You heard it here first.

Re:The wave of the future: (1)

Dreadneck (982170) | about 4 years ago | (#33752668)

Twitter and Walmart.

You heard it here first.

Twitmart?

Re:The wave of the future: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33752830)

Twitmart? Of course not! The name is Walter!

Re:The wave of the future: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33752746)

Clusters cereal and FuckBook. ClusterFuck. You heard it here first.

Re:The wave of the future: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33753572)

Twitter+Walmart will finally be able to cut out the middle man, a.k.a. your followers and "friends", and just tell you what to consume. Much more efficient than hoping people will infer this information, as with current "social media".

Re:The wave of the future: (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about 4 years ago | (#33754684)

Last episode of Javaposse was past that scenario.

All hail Walmart [oracle.com] .

Too much power concentration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33752528)

Does it mean Facebook will "gain" skype users too? What if I don't want my Skype calls to be intermediated by Facebook?

A leg up on google? (1)

Spykk (823586) | about 4 years ago | (#33752572)

Such an agreement would give both Skype and Facebook not only a leg up on rival VoIP and social networking services from the likes of Google

I can already use gmail to make free calls to real phone numbers. This move seems more like playing catchup than anything else.

Re:A leg up on google? (1)

koiransuklaa (1502579) | about 4 years ago | (#33753392)

I assume you are referring to the Google VOIP service that is currently available to ~4.5% of the world population?

Re:A leg up on google? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 4 years ago | (#33754550)

And is only free on an introductory basis?

Re:A leg up on google? (1)

JazzyMusicMan (1012801) | about 4 years ago | (#33754424)

A big leg up on Google, I'm usually not on my gmail screen all day. Facebook is a different story.

R.I.P. Skype (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33752622)

Once FB developers get their hands anywhere near it, it'll probably turn into Facebook Chat and all the other realtime communications attempts FB has made over the last few years: a half-assed kludge that will only function somewhat-right about a quarter of the time.

Whatever is necessary to satisfy Zuck's everybody-should-live-in-glass-houses-except-me wet dream I guess.

Would be humorous if... (1)

Godskitchen (1017786) | about 4 years ago | (#33752788)

...Google started crying about antitrust issues.

People still use facebook? (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | about 4 years ago | (#33753026)

People still use facebook?

Re:People still use facebook? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33753226)

Apparently they do, actually my Ph.D thesis in on a social network that was called "myspace"

this is scary (1)

jsepeta (412566) | about 4 years ago | (#33753082)

until google can match skype's capabilities. i don't trust anyone who negotiates with facebook.

This will either be amazing, or pure fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33753144)

There is no middle ground.

Just in time (1)

Speigel (1898170) | about 4 years ago | (#33753502)

And just in time for the Movie, featuring Justin Timberlake and Jesse Eisenberg. No sacarcasm here. This is actually happening.

OH NO this is the worst news for SIP users (1)

xiando (770382) | about 4 years ago | (#33753530)

I like SIP because it is a open standard, and I do not use Skype because there is no free software which allows me to talk to those who are using it. If Facebook and Skype teams up then that will likely make it even more the de-facto standard like MSN is for IM and it will probably be the total nail in the coffin for SIP. I see this as very bad news indeed.

Re:OH NO this is the worst news for SIP users (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33753730)

MSN is the standard for IM? Since when? 95% of my contacts are either through jabber through Google Chat, or jabber through Facebook.

Re:OH NO this is the worst news for SIP users (1)

blackest_k (761565) | about 4 years ago | (#33754280)

SIP is the best quality solution but you have to realise that setting up a sip account is beyond the ability of most ordinary people.

I have a lot of friends who use facebook and very few use Skype even less who use sip. If Skype becomes as easy as go to your facebook page then the number of people i know using skype wouldnt double it would be around 10 -20 times as many.

people in general are scared of computers, and don't want to install anything.

In an ideal world Facebook and Skype would be going nowhere and we would all be able to use our sip enabled devices without having our calls intercepted and monitored or risk losing our jobs or wrecked friendships because we said the wrong thing on Facebook.

I think we really lose sight of what most people have the confidence to do. You want people to use sip: then just make it so all they need to do is allow this application access to their facebook settings and then just work.

Re:OH NO this is the worst news for SIP users (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33754658)

What??? So if skype and fb join forces that will somehow kill every SIP gateway service or cause me to remove SIP from my phone system and route my calls through Skype? Why would I do that when SIP works perfect for that application and MILLIONS of others use SIP for that same purpose? Skype is great person to person, but there is just too much momentum for SIP for Skype to kill it off. Almost every PBX vendor supports it now and again many businesses run their entire unified communications infrastructure on it. Skype/FB integration will not change that.

How many of you nerds really READ then COMPILE the code that you use? Most of you run your mouths about open standards blah, blah, yet you cannot even run make. Yes, you might check downloaded software against a hash, but I'm quite sure that only about 10% of people here that do that. ./ used to be about cool stuff that was actually technical, not a bunch of wannabe's that bash everything because its mainstream.

Grow up, some stuff gets mainstream. People use it. You use a computer don't you? Guess what, so do millions of others... guess that makes you mainstream too.

Might Actually Be Good for Google (1)

Maltheus (248271) | about 4 years ago | (#33753624)

I am both a Skype and Facebook user. This move will mean that I'll stop using Skype. Maybe Google Voice will pick me up as a user, maybe someone else. I don't want my facebook tied to skype or anything else. I won't log onto another website with my facebook account. I won't use google mail, because I use google search....and so on. All these companies are bad enough on their own. This drive to merge, will only drive me away. Every time I read a story like this, I end up googling for disapora (only to see that it hasn't gotten anywhere).

Re:Might Actually Be Good for Google (1)

mjwx (966435) | about 4 years ago | (#33755138)

I am both a Skype and Facebook user. This move will mean that I'll stop using Skype. Maybe Google Voice will pick me up as a user, maybe someone else. I don't want my facebook tied to skype or anything else. I won't log onto another website with my facebook account. I won't use google mail, because I use google search....and so on. All these companies are bad enough on their own. This drive to merge, will only drive me away. Every time I read a story like this, I end up googling for disapora (only to see that it hasn't gotten anywhere).

If Google Voice was available in Australia they would have already have picked me up as a customer. Even with their current rates, US$0.14 (A$0.15) per minute to a mobile is almost a quarter of any local telco, they want A$0.29 for 30 seconds. US$0.02 (not even worth considering the 10% diff between the AUD and USD) per minute to any land line.

Oh well... (1)

Archfeld (6757) | about 4 years ago | (#33753828)

As long as I can continue to use my beloved Skype without touching that pariah called Facebook I don't care what they do together. The first time they require a Facebook login or some such nonsense will be the end of my long and mutually profitable venture with Skype.

Credit Cards (1)

failedlogic (627314) | about 4 years ago | (#33754270)

I don't know if there's any paid subscription with Facebook. But, I currently pay Skype with my Credit Card. I don't know who keeps this information (e.g. if Skype) keeps in database. Would this merger not give Facebook to link its users with their credit card info? Certainly, with the amount of info kept on FB, the CC info if kept by Skype and all the phone numbers you call, it doesn't seem to be a good mix of sharing of information.

Alternative cross-platform, reliable video chat? (1)

penguinchris (1020961) | about 4 years ago | (#33754636)

I use Skype almost daily to video chat with someone on the opposite side of the earth. Not sure why there are so many haters - I know there are problems with the company and I wish it was more open, but for most people (including Linux users as they do have an official Linux client) it's an incredibly useful service that just works.

Anyway at my end, I use a macbook pro and since I'm on slashdot you might guess I have no problem doing anything on computers. But, at the other end is someone with much less education who doesn't know much about computers beyond how to use it for basic stuff. She didn't even set up the Skype account herself, her sister did. She uses a Windows netbook that's a couple years old, and connects to the internet with a cellular 2G modem (I think - 3G is available but limited). We like Skype because it tends to "Just Work" despite the multitude of potential issues with this setup. Every other video chat solution I've tried in the past was unreliable even in more ideal conditions.

I suppose iChat would work, but that'd require a new expensive computer. What I'm looking for is an alternative that's dead simple to get going, free, and reliable (i.e. it'll work every time). Basically, Skype. But, I foresee a lot of problems that could come if they get too involved with Facebook, and want to have alternatives available just in case. And if there's something better out there anyway, then that's great, because Skype as it is does have some problems. I know I can just google this - and I have - but I'm wondering if anyone has had any experience with alternatives.

I wondered... (1)

rasherbuyer (225625) | about 4 years ago | (#33754884)

why I was getting spam from facebook to the unique email address I gave skype - spamfromskype@mydomain ...

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