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Chat services take wait-and-see approach to adopting Apple's FaceTime

post #1 of 44
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After Apple this week announced its new open standard for video calling, dubbed FaceTime, major online chat providers have expressed interest in the new standards-based technology, but do not yet have plans to adopt it in their own services.

Announced on Monday, FaceTime will allow iPhone 4 users to video chat over Wi-Fi using the cameras on Apple's latest handset. Apple will make FaceTime an open industry standard, allowing communication with other devices and services.

It's the open, standards-based nature of FaceTime that most interests existing Internet communications providers like Skype. But that doesn't mean the company is already willing to embrace Apple's creation.

A Skype spokesperson contacted by AppleInsider on Wednesday downplayed earlier reports which suggested the voice-over-IP company would "welcome the chance to work with Apple" and planned on adopting the FaceTime standard in its own products.

"Just to be clear, we are not considering FaceTime as a technological platform for video calling in our own products," the spokesperson said. "Based on Apple's statement about FaceTime being open platform, we are looking forward to see how this process unfolds."

The company said it will continue to work with Apple in providing the Skype service through its own existing applications for the Mac OS X desktop and iOS devices.



Google, too, acknowledged the open nature of FaceTime when asked for comment. The search giant runs the Google Chat service, which operates in the browser for Gmail users, and is also accessible through the Google Talk desktop application for Windows only.

"Our solutions are built on top of open standards and platforms and we will continue to strive for openness in our communication platforms," a Google spokesperson said. The company declined to offer any information on future plans, or speak specifically about potential integration of FaceTime in its products.

A spokesperson for Microsoft, which is responsible for the popular MSN Messenger service, said the company has nothing to share regarding Apple's FaceTime. Requests to AOL, Fring, and Yahoo were not answered Wednesday.

For more on FaceTime, see the AppleInsider feature Inside iPhone 4: FaceTime video calling.
post #2 of 44
Apple had better get it integrated into iChat if they want credibility.
post #3 of 44
Wait, Apple announced this feature Monday and as of Wednesday no company had fully adopted it yet? lol
post #4 of 44
With or without FaceTime, Skype and others can make video chatting work, now the the iPhone has a webcam. I dont much care what protocol they use, just get it working ASAP please

(I wish Meebo supported audio and video.)
post #5 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

With or without FaceTime, Skype and others can make video chatting work, now the the iPhone has a webcam. I dont much care what protocol they use, just get it working ASAP please

(I wish Meebo supported audio and video.)

I think there's two sides to the issue. If they all adopt the same protocol(s), then anyone can chat with anyone, and you don't have to make sure they have the same service. On the other hand, Skype, for instance, would prefer that people use Skype, so they might not see it in their interests to be interoperable. If FaceTime turns out to be a big hit, and a few others adopt it, it may cause pressure for everyone to.
post #6 of 44
if Apple was so behind the ball in video chatting then why the heck don't we see this feature being advertised by all them cheesy Android phones? LOL!
I keep hearing people say they had this feature years ago. Where is it? Cause last time I ventured onto other tech sites I didn't see Droid does video chat. Meh!

Apple changes the game all over again.
post #7 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by maccherry View Post

if Apple was so behind the ball in video chatting then why the heck don't we see this feature being advertised by all them cheesy Android phones? LOL!
I keep hearing people say they had this feature years ago. Where is it? Cause last time I ventured onto other tech sites I didn't see Droid does video chat. Meh!

Apple changes the game all over again.

The European version of the Touch Pro 1 had a front facing camera, that much I know for sure.
post #8 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

Europe has had video chat for a while. It's an advantage of having gsm (data for calls lets u stream video.) The European version of the Touch Pro 1 had a front facing camera, that much I know for sure.

Cmon man. At least google something before ranting about it.

No one uses it, though, apparently.
post #9 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Postulant View Post

Wait, Apple announced this feature Monday and as of Wednesday no company had fully adopted it yet? lol

I've been seeing people talk about how video chat failed in Denmark or some place like that. Not enough privacy on a video call in public, and in private, video calls tend to be made on the computer.

I think it'll do ok here, and I stand by my assertion that facetime being used as a masturbatorial aid will be what drives it's success!
post #10 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalMacRat View Post

Apple had better get it integrated into iChat if they want credibility.

I believe it is a matter of "when", not "if". Remember that iOS is built on OSX. Who's to say that they haven't already ported it back to the original OSX??

Hmm... a potential feature for OSX 10.7 ???
post #11 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

I've been seeing people talk about how video chat failed in Denmark or some place like that. Not enough privacy on a video call in public, and in private, video calls tend to be made on the computer.

I think it'll do ok here, and I stand by my assertion that facetime being used as a masturbatorial aid will be what drives it's success!

Do you think that Apple will restrict what parts of the body you can show on the camera to meet their no porn stance?
post #12 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Google, too, acknowledged the open nature of FaceTime when asked for comment. The search giant runs the Google Chat service, which operates in the browser for Gmail users, and is also accessible through the Google Talk desktop application for Windows only.

Doesn't it also work via Gmail's Jabber in iChat on Mac OS X? I could have sworn I've used it and ScreenSharing in the past.


Quote:
Originally Posted by maccherry View Post

if Apple was so behind the ball in video chatting then why the heck don't we see this feature being advertised by all them cheesy Android phones? LOL!
I keep hearing people say they had this feature years ago. Where is it? Cause last time I ventured onto other tech sites I didn't see Droid does video chat. Meh!

Apple changes the game all over again.

That's the rub, it's been around for years since the 1980s, I think, if you count POTS but it's not used because it's not done well. First, the technology wasn't really there before and in many ways still isn't for cellular networks.

I've read that many disable SIP which FaceTime uses. 3GPP outlined video conferencing, but technically doing it in a proof of concept with skipping frame and dropped audio isn't exactly useful. That seems to be the difference between users of iOS and Android as a general rule of their mindsets: One group wants a technology to work well before claiming victory and they other group just wants a technology to technically work regardless of the usefulness, quality or convenience.

Apple's not inventing video conferencing, but they may have created an open standards video conferencing that works well. I can't wait to see what they submits to standards body.


Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

I think it'll do ok here, and I stand by my assertion that facetime being used as a masturbatorial aid will be what drives it's success!

FaceTime Roulette iOS app?
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post #13 of 44
The thing holding down video chat is the lack of compatibility.

Imagine how well email would be taken if you could only send messages to someone that had the same model computer that you had. Kind of like how iChat is great, but it ONLY works with AIM accounts. Not everyone has an AIM account, so the usability of iChat is limited. There are other apps that seamlessly connect to many services, which is a start, but still requires you to have multiple accounts set up. Not the most intelligent solution.

No, it's got to work across all devices. Having a 'standard' video chat format will be huge. If I can have iChat open on my computer and chat with someone with an iPhone, or an Android phone, or any other video centric phone, then it makes sense. Not everyone will have the iPhone. To hit critical mass, it has to be everywhere!
post #14 of 44
So let me get this straight...You make a phone call to the person you want to video chat with, but the video chat only works on WiFi.

My question is this...So while I'm video chatting over my WiFi connection, do I have to pay the carrier for the minutes I'm using?

If so, FAIL!

When you switch to FaceTime it better hang up the call and stop using minutes.
post #15 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalMacRat View Post

Apple had better get it integrated into iChat if they want credibility.

I'm interested to see how they deal with this.

The big thing about FaceTime is that it's zero configuration and no usernames or passwords. The simplified version of how it works is that it's using your phone number as the username and there's no need for a password since it's your phone number.

Apple would need to figure something out with iChat to make it work with FaceTime, such as allowing you to log in to iChat with your phone number, or instead of making iChat work with FaceTime, they'd make FaceTime work with iChat...the latter could be done by allowing iChat usernames in the addressbook.

The key here is that you're very quickly going to see tens of millions of iOS devices be FaceTime enabled. A lot of those people are going to be clustered (families, employees, etc...), so it has a much better shot of taking off than any other videophone technology before it.
post #16 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjojade View Post

The thing holding down video chat is the lack of compatibility.

Imagine how well email would be taken if you could only send messages to someone that had the same model computer that you had. Kind of like how iChat is great, but it ONLY works with AIM accounts. Not everyone has an AIM account, so the usability of iChat is limited. There are other apps that seamlessly connect to many services, which is a start, but still requires you to have multiple accounts set up. Not the most intelligent solution.

No, it's got to work across all devices. Having a 'standard' video chat format will be huge. If I can have iChat open on my computer and chat with someone with an iPhone, or an Android phone, or any other video centric phone, then it makes sense. Not everyone will have the iPhone. To hit critical mass, it has to be everywhere!

It doesn't matter if AOL, MS, Skype, etc. support it.
I guarantee there will be enterprising developers who will sieze this opportunity and create desktop clients for FaceTime.

Apple really should be the one to do it.
Dump AOL and make a cross platform compatible iChat based on FaceTime.
post #17 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

So let me get this straight...You make a phone call to the person you want to video chat with, but the video chat only works on WiFi.

My question is this...So while I'm video chatting over my WiFi connection, do I have to pay the carrier for the minutes I'm using?

If so, FAIL!

When you switch to FaceTime it better hang up the call and stop using minutes.

From the protocols they mention and the current requirements of two iPhone 4s and WiFi it seems that won't use your cellular voice.
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post #18 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

From the protocols they mention and the current requirements of two iPhone 4s and WiFi it seems that won't use your cellular voice.

At least in the US it should be a non issue. If I remeber correctly, there are no minutes charged in calls between AT&T subscribers.
post #19 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by afishertx View Post

At least in the US it should be a non issue. If I remeber correctly, there are no minutes charged in calls between AT&T subscribers.

Mobile to mobile is free but this does not use voice minutes but data. Then wifi only data at that, not 3G.

For those complaining about the inability to use this over 3G you have to consider that this is in its infancy. Apple is laying the foundations for video to video calls several years out. The goal now is to get the standards pushed out to other providers and grow this using wifi. Then when cell calls move to LTE and everything becomes just data packets, then voice, data and video calls will just become the same. Data packets pushed over a fast LTE network. You have to think 3+ years out to see where this is going.
post #20 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by afishertx View Post

At least in the US it should be a non issue. If I remeber correctly, there are no minutes charged in calls between AT&T subscribers.

Your minute-to-minute voice aren't going to do you any good when doing 2-way video over your data connection, even after it is 3G. However it appears the voice is using IP as well. Three of the protocols (SIP, RTP and SRTP) are IETF designed with VoIP in mind. This means they are designed for QoS and realtime transfers. So when this does come to carriers in 2011(?) it looks like it will be all over your data network.

edit: Pipped by kerryn.
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post #21 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Doesn't it also work via Gmail's Jabber in iChat on Mac OS X? I could have sworn I've used it and ScreenSharing in the past.

Yes, it does. That's how I chat with my girlfriend.
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post #22 of 44
Gee. A competitor with a different format doesn't want to just up and switch because Apple says so? Say it ain't so!!
post #23 of 44
If I were Skype, I'd be getting on the ball. Want your service used on one of the most popular and wildly growing platforms in the world? Start making worthwhile. With 4.0, both phone and OS, Skype has the opportunity to dominate mobile video chat, as they currently dominate desktop video chat. If I were Skype watching that keynote, I would have fallen out of my seat with excitement.

If Skype were at all smart, in the future they could integrate completely with the iPhone, making only a single data plan necessary.
post #24 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

Gee. A competitor with a different format doesn't want to just up and switch because Apple says so? Say it ain't so!!

Wait, you mean the iPhone 4 doesn't support WebM yet?! I mean, Google announced it like one month ago! Get on the ball, Apple. What's wrong with you?!!

In all seriousness, I think FaceTime has a pretty good shot at being an open standard and many services will consider it. It probably won't make enough sense until its running on next-gen networks like LTE. Until then, while Skype says they have no plans to integrate FaceTime, they undoubtedly plan on adding their Skype video protocol to the iPhone asap. It would be *amazing* to have Skype-to-Skype video calls with nothing more than my phone.

EDIT: Just so we're clear, we're talking about the "FaceTime" protocol, not the action of video calls itself. Skype will definitely implement it soon.
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post #25 of 44
The game is shifting yet again.

Those that hesitate to adapt shall be lost.
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post #26 of 44
Did Steve really give a big speech about how he dreamed of doing video calls since he watched Star Trek and the Jetsons back in the day, then showed emotional ads of deaf people signing each other? Didn't he already achieve those dreams with iChat?
post #27 of 44
As long as FaceTime is limited to iPhone4 to iPhone4 calling whilst both parties are using WiFi I really cannot see this taking off in a big way.

Skype has a huge number of users making video calls every day. According to a Skype.com blog post, "about 34% of Skype calls are now video calls, and this rises to around 50% at peak times." All they need to do is add video calling to their iPhone app. I'm just not certain how FaceTime hopes to compete.
post #28 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post

As long as FaceTime is limited to iPhone4 to iPhone4 calling whilst both parties are using WiFi I really cannot see this taking off in a big way.

Skype has a huge number of users making video calls every day. According to a Skype.com blog post, "about 34% of Skype calls are now video calls, and this rises to around 50% at peak times." All they need to do is add video calling to their iPhone app. I'm just not certain how FaceTime hopes to compete.

I suspect the true target is social networking sites. Though not a great fan myself, most FB users I know use it's text chat over anything else. If Facebook incorporate this into their iApp & site, Skype just became a rather proprietary #2. Of course if Google play the game with Android Skype's over.

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post #29 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by McDave View Post

I suspect the true target is social networking sites. Though not a great fan myself, most FB users I know use it's text chat over anything else. If Facebook incorporate this into their iApp & site, Skype just became a rather proprietary #2. Of course if Google play the game with Android Skype's over.

McD

But would Facebook select FaceTime for video chat or go with something else? They have over 400 million active users. With that many users they don't need to go with open standards, although it would be good if they did.

Skype could be releasing a Android app with video this year: http://www.engadget.com/2010/05/28/s...arket-later-t/
post #30 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjojade View Post

The thing holding down video chat is the lack of compatibility.

... it's got to work across all devices. Having a 'standard' video chat format will be huge. If I can have iChat open on my computer and chat with someone with an iPhone, or an Android phone, or any other video centric phone, then it makes sense. Not everyone will have the iPhone. To hit critical mass, it has to be everywhere!

The more I think about what Apple is proposing the more enthused I am - but I have to remind myself I'm ignoring the video part.

There are 2 approaches Apple could have taken
1) compatibility with as many other video chat clients as possible, and as much licensing as possible
2) make it an evolution of phones

You're right that one problem with video calls is that it's not everywhere. There was some limited ISDN video conferencing, Skype is on your computer and works pretty well. iChat is also on the computer but not related to Skype (or MSN etc!). 3G phones could video chat to other 3G phones on the same network. Make them all work together and life becomes a lot easier - but STILL a much smaller audience than simply dialing a phone number. And if you're not always at the same computer then you have to remember to login, get a common login with your flatmates or family etc.

But if it's a function of the phone itself, things get MUCH simpler. You ring a number exactly like now - and it seems to try to make a FaceTime connection directly if it can. Otherwise it gets through exactly like it does now using the phone network. Either way, there's no thinking about anything because it's such a well known model (and can still include VoIP & SkypeIn calls etc.). And once connected if both devices have FaceTime (whether they're mobiles, landlines, computers or whatever) they can negotiate a direct connection and switch to that.

This will do far more to make video available to everyone than just interoperability between current video chat systems - but combining both would be brilliant.

BTW It wouldn't have to be video - I can imagine having my voice only, but having an open data connection to share files, photos, maybe share my screen with someone else or print directly to their printer (if they authorise it).
post #31 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjojade View Post

The thing holding down video chat is the lack of compatibility.

Imagine how well email would be taken if you could only send messages to someone that had the same model computer that you had. Kind of like how iChat is great, but it ONLY works with AIM accounts. Not everyone has an AIM account, so the usability of iChat is limited. There are other apps that seamlessly connect to many services, which is a start, but still requires you to have multiple accounts set up. Not the most intelligent solution.

No, it's got to work across all devices. Having a 'standard' video chat format will be huge. If I can have iChat open on my computer and chat with someone with an iPhone, or an Android phone, or any other video centric phone, then it makes sense. Not everyone will have the iPhone. To hit critical mass, it has to be everywhere!

Critical mass does not require it being "everywhere". Skype is a closed standard and it is more widely deployed for chat services than iChat - yet it can be argued that it has "critical mass" for number of users. YOU may want it to work across all devices - but it is not in Google's best interest to do that, nor Microsoft, nor AOL - or anyone else. The point was made earlier and is by far the most important element - all companies want to distinguish their product from others, and will work to do so.

All that is necessary for FaceTime to be successful is if ENOUGH iPhone users use it. That drives additional ownership interest, builds additional marketshare and so on. You are approaching your argument from a technology perspective but arguing marketshare like that is simply misguided and prone to being way out in left field.
post #32 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by masternav View Post

All that is necessary for FaceTime to be successful is if ENOUGH iPhone users use it. That drives additional ownership interest, builds additional marketshare and so on. You are approaching your argument from a technology perspective but arguing marketshare like that is simply misguided and prone to being way out in left field.

Unfortunately I am not convinced "enough" people will use FaceTime. It is iPhone4 only which limits it use and then it is further limited by being WiFi only. Some people will use it, however, I don't think enough will. Therefore we won't see additional ownership interest, building additional marketshare and so on.

And if Apple approves other video chat apps for the iPhone (such as Skype, MSN, etc) which already have very large numbers of existing users then I think it is game over for FaceTime.
post #33 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by masternav View Post

Critical mass does not require it being "everywhere".

I can just imagine it - "well, it's everywhere, literally everywhere, can't go anywhere without seeing it"
"yes, but do we have critical mass!?".

Quote:
Originally Posted by masternav View Post

YOU may want it to work across all devices - but it is not in Google's best interest to do that, nor Microsoft, nor AOL - or anyone else.

There are 2 models for success though. The regular phone (& cell phone) system has worked very profitably for many years. Sprint, AT&T, etc etc want it to work across all devices. It is in Panasonic's interest for their phone to support the standard phone technologies. Both Panasonic & AT&T make money. And if Panasonic phones could only call other panasonic phones, that'd be a real problem

Likewise fax machines would never have taken off if they couldn't communicate between different brands.

Of course this is different for several reasons - but there is a LOT of value in making something work across all devices.
post #34 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalMacRat View Post

Apple had better get it integrated into iChat if they want credibility.

LOL

When Steve said it was an open cross-platform framework, he only meant for other companies to spend money working on it. He didn't mean cross-platform to Mac OS.
post #35 of 44
Obviously it will become part of iPhone Skype at some point, and that's good news.

The bigger story for me is the blocking of video chat over 3G. I can't imagine there are network capacity issues in Japan or South Korea (to name two obvious examples). Is the whole world being punished just to stop AT&T looking bad?
post #36 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by kotatsu View Post

The bigger story for me is the blocking of video chat over 3G. I can't imagine there are network capacity issues in Japan or South Korea (to name two obvious examples). Is the whole world being punished just to stop AT&T looking bad?

I don't think it is just a question of network capacity. Many phone companies around the world already offer 3G video chat for which they often charge a premium. FaceTime competes against this.

We could easily see a future where we just need a data plan. No voice minutes. No txt messages. No videochat minutes. Instead we use Apps such as a Skype or Google Voice to provide these services. Of course phone companies don't like this future as they get less money. Allowing FaceTime over 3G would be another step towards this future.
post #37 of 44
Other services will jump on the FaceTime bandwagon when they see usage from iPhone4 users.

And that gets me speculating about its uses. Many people focus on the face to face video call aspect. But I think its the show-others-what-you-see aspect that will be bigger. Imagine you go to the store and you are not sure what someone really wanted you to get. With FaceTime, you could call up the person and show them the different choices you see. It doesn't matter if it was a grocery store, department store, car dealership or whatever. If you could show someone what you see, it could eliminate a lot of frustration.

But if the place doesn't have wi-fi, you can't use it. So you may ask them if they have free wi-fi. If they say no, you may go to some other place that has similar products with wi-fi. And if a store gets enough requests for free wi-fi, they may consider this a business plus to add free wi-fi to attract more customers. How would you feel if a Mall advertised they offered free wi-fi inside the mall for all stores? You may go there just to share with someone else what you can buy.

My point is FaceTime can be very big but not in the way most people think. It could help spread free wi-fi. This will increase more usage of FaceTime. Apple will sell more iPhone4 devices. Other companies (HTC EVO 4G?) will see this and decide to adapt FaceTime for their products to help sell more of their phones and eliminate Apple's advantage in this area.

I just see a great future for FaceTime. As I stated, wi-fi wont be a hindrance. It may turn out to be a blessing.
post #38 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flounder View Post

Yes, it does. That's how I chat with my girlfriend.

Maybe you should just invite her over.
post #39 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Maybe you should just invite her over.

Given that we are 180 miles apart until August, that's not exactly feasible. Plus, when we are in the same approximate location, we're both busy people. We don't have time to see each other every day, but we usually have time to chat for a half hour or so.

Maybe you should just be less of a jack-ass.
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post #40 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flounder View Post

Maybe you should just be less of a jack-ass.

Based on his comment and his posting history, I'm sure his comment was meant to be taken lightly.

But 180 miles, hmm... If you each drove 90miles (or split the difference based on road speeds and traffic patterns to meet halfway (time-wise), where would that put you two? In another city, town, highway rest area? For a little over an hour of driving that could be a very hot meet up. I'm just sayin.'
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