This nice article explains in very simple words why Video-Chat is no big deal: Why the Facebook-Skype Video Calling Won’t Be Ubiquitous – International Business Times.
Here is a stripped down version:
People just don’t like video calling. It has been available for over 10 years. Even when technology made it easier and more convenient, it never caught on. It just doesn’t fit in with the way modern users interact with the computer. It requires you to sit down and devote your whole attention (or at least a big part of it) to one person.
But if you think about the way you use the Internet, you’re almost always multi-tasking and interacting with multiple people at the same time. You chat with multiple people, interact with multiple profiles on Facebook, and tweet to multiple people.
Users don’t want their interactions to come with obligations. They want to leave when they want to, ignore someone when they want to, and do something else when they feel like it. When your face is shown in a video, though, you feel socially obligated to extend basic courtesy and avoid basic social faux pas.
The concept of video chatting sounds great in theory and in commercials. (Almost every single video chatting commercial/plug features a grandfather waving to his grandchildren). And there are uses for them, like a soldier chatting with his family back home or two lovers who can’t wipe the smile off their face.
It probably won’t be ubiquitous, however, because it’s just too intrusive and demanding compared to text communication.
Cell phone text messaging has already cut into voice calling. What makes Zuckerberg and Bates think that people will now make the leap to use video calling?
I indeed agree, video has been around for years (yahoo, msn, skype) and it never caught on as a massive social phenomenon like simple chat or email. For business it’s another story, what Cisco does with it’s enterprise video product is really important because there you have to give your attention and companies save big costs by using it since there are no alternatives to the traditional and tedious company meetings (I remember I always had trouble to stay awake during meetings). But I see really no competitive threat for Google due to this “new” Facebook feature and I convince myself more that Microsoft lost money acquiring Skype. Actually Google chat is designed for a group of up to 10 people, maybe that would work better by releasing the one on one pressure, who knows, but I would not bet on it either.
I see it just as a complementary service, something that has to be there, even though it is not massively used. But anyways it has been there on the internet for long, any medium user was using it if he wanted already. A video is a nice feature to have for once in a while but will it become as ubiquitous as simple text messaging? Its doubtful when you see the power of simple comments or text messaging and how they have even diminished voice calls.
PD: I just got the book recommended by Charlie Munger over Google: In The Plex~How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives . Great reading! It gives a very nice idea of how the company operates and really reinforces my knowledge and conviction, as an investor, in Google’s quality !
I am impatient to use Goolge+, if someone can invite me please do, here is my email: [email protected]