Skype vs. Facebook: Which Gains More From WebRTC?

The fight is on: OTT VoIP against the social networks. Who stands to gain and who to lose from WebRTC?

[If you are new around here, then you should know I've been writing about WebRTC lately. You can skim through the WebRTC post series or just read what WebRTC is all about.]

This was a very exciting week for me: I published my first guest post on Venture Beat. This one was about how WebRTC affects Skype and Facebook, and the imminent faceoff between these two web giants.

Assuming both adopt WebRTC wholeheartedly tomorrow and start providing voice and video calling features from within the browser – without any app or download attached to it, what cards do each of them has to play?

Skype

Skype is now a Microsoft tool. With their blessing and assistance they can grow considerably.

First things first: Skype call button from the web can now work without an extension or a download – it can just BE there and use WebRTC.

Let’s talk devices. Skype gets integrated into all of their devices and operating systems: From Windows 8 on tablets, phones and laptops to Xbox game center and even the Microsoft Media room. This can be done with or without WebRTC. I prefer with – it gives them more flexibility and reach.

Bing – Microsoft’s search engine which just got integrated into the Kindle Fire HD can fit well here as well: integrate Skype call buttons (with the help of WebRTC of course) into everything and anything that allows it – especially the ads section.

Facebook

Facebook has its share of trouble. Any growth it can show, new interaction and additional revenue stream will be welcomed.

Facebook can adopt WebRTC and provide a calling experience that surpasses most VoIP players. It already provides presence and chat, so what’s the trouble of adding voice and video calling integrated into their website with WebRTC? Integrate it into their Facebook app on mobile devices and it gets used more than Skype for VoIP calling.

Once done, they can monetize it by offering Facebook Out – similar to Skype Out.

Some other ideas?

  • Allow for voice and video postings that use WebRTC APIs directly from the activity feed itself
  • Integrate Facebook calling in the ads they show
  • Enable companies on their Facebook pages to add call buttons
  • Allow integrating a Facebook call button similar to their Like and Subscribe ones out of their own website

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If you ask me, my bet on this one goes to Facebook. As I’ve stated in the Venture Beat post – the main attraction of OTT VoIP players such as Skype lies in holding my buddy list and enabling presence and calls to these people. The fact that I am interacting with them more time already and with a larger group of them on Facebook gives Facebook the edge.

Social is where we are headed, and it is where real time interactions are. It is time to fold the good old calling services into them.

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