Sources for TechCrunch report that Facebook’s “awesome” announcement next week is an in-browser video chatting service powered by Skype. Google+ was recently released with its own group chatting service, called “Huddle”. We’re sure Facebook has been working on video chat integration for some time now, but their timing seems to be fairly lucky. For many users, Huddle could be the “killer feature” that draws them away from Facebook. Skype currently requires a premium membership for group chatting, so it’s unknown if Facebook’s version will support more than one-on-one chats. Google’s Huddle supports groups of up to 10 friends without much complaining, which will be a tough number to beat. Skype recently updated their Android app with video chatting, and is planning to launch an iPad-optimized app. This could be a precursor to Skype-supported video chat in Facebook’s mobile applications.
Skype was recently acquired by Microsoft for $8.5 billion, and this latest alignment of powers could mean that Facebook and Microsoft are getting cozy. In order to fend off Google’s social networking service, Zuckerberg will need to pull out the big guns—and possibly elicit more help from Redmond.