Exclusive: Facebook and Skype Readying Deep Integration Partnership
You didn’t think Facebook would integrate with Google (GOOG) Voice, did you?
Actually, according to sources close to the situation, Facebook and Skype are poised to announce a significant and wide-ranging partnership that will include integration of SMS, voice chat and Facebook Connect.
The move by the pair–which have tested small contact importer integrations before–is a natural one for the social networking giant, which is aiming to be the central communications and messaging platform for its users, across a range of media.
Facebook’s goal, according to sources: To mesh communications and community more tightly together and add more tools to allow users to do so.
Since it was not going to create an Internet telephony service of its own–kind of like not creating a mobile operating system–Facebook has apparently turned to the Web’s Internet telephony leader.
Interestingly, Facebook has previously tested a video chat product.
Skype had 124 million people using it at least once a month and 560 million registered users, which will be bolstered by the 500 million Facebook users who will now be able to use it more seamlessly within Skype.
That will include allowing users to SMS and call Facebook friends from Skype, which will now deploy Facebook Connect.
And also do video chat using Facebook in Skype, which you can see below, in a very odd screenshot sent to me by a source–Walt Mossberg’s code name is not Daniel Matthews and I am not Allison Brown. (Click on the image to make it larger.)
This all will be available in Skype’s newest version, 5.0, which emerges from beta in a few weeks.
This is a big win for the Luxembourg-based Skype, which is currently readying a public offering.
While it now dominates the online calling space, it needs to be present where users are now moving, such as Facebook.
And for Facebook, this is also helpful to its international push, making it more appealing globally since Skype is much more popular outside the U.S.
It will be interesting to see if both cross-integrate into their popular mobile apps too.
Facebook has been doing a lot of integrations with other communications services, such as a massive upcoming one with Yahoo (YHOO) and also one with Microsoft (MSFT).
Skype is also increasing its partnerships. Today, for example, it will announce a deal with Avaya, which makes office phones and related software aimed at businesses.
The pair called it a “strategic unified communications and collaboration partnership,” and is centered on business and personal videoconferencing.