From Wailin Wong, The Chicago Tribune
The announcement Wednesday that Facebook Inc. is partnering with Skype to offer free video calling represents the latest effort by a marquee technology company to dominate all forms of digital communication. Most notably, Facebook took on traditional email last year by rolling out a new messaging system that incorporates email, online chat and text messages into a single conversation history.
Those communication channels have become mainstream for many consumers. What's been slower to catch on is video chat, which represents the next big land grab for these technology rivals....
Video calling isn't a regular part of most consumers' online activities. According to an October report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, about 19 percent of American adults have tried the technology online or on their mobile phones. But on any given day, just 4 percent of Internet users are engaged in video calling, chatting or teleconferencing.
Still, tech companies believe they can stoke demand for video calling if they make it simple to use. If even a fraction of Facebook's 750 million members embrace video calling, the technology could get a significant boost.