Thursday, July 7, 2011

Video Call from Facebook - Powered By Skype

Clicks...Likes…& (now) Video Calling!

Yes! It’s the new offering from Facebook that, experts believe, would surely make a difference in social media usage stats the world over. With video calling facility integrated to Facebook (courtesy Skype) users "no longer need to download Skype to make voice and video calls for free."

Now it’s all possible on Facebook!

But I can’t agree with those who believe that with this new Facebook + Skype integration, the latter would gradually become irrelevant. Skype has also become hugely popular for its additional features which include "instant messaging", "file transfer", and "video conferencing", features which are intrinsic to several organizations for smooth day to day management-employee coordination.

On the other hand, as of 2010, Skype has 663 million registered users. If even a quarter of them shifts their usage pattern and starts using Facebook video calling feature over Skype, it will add a lot to Facebook’s user-base.

News that’s buzzing around is that, Facebook and Skype (read Microsoft) is determined to counter Google+ and hence the announcement within a week of the launch of Google’s (plus) project.

Whatever, the corporate games, for the average user, its good news!

If you’re looking to jump into Facebook video calling, there’s a step by step tour for you Click here

Call your friends right from Facebook. Just click the call button at the top of your friend’s profile or chat window. And there’s no need to download software. In case of ‘No Answer’, you can leave a video message as well!

Bring your conversations to life. Get started today!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Less Is More...The Future of Gmail

“Less is more” - Its been Google's unofficial motto for quite sometime and the Mountain View firm isn't opting for a revised version either! The latest proof being an attempt to give a minimalist look to Gmail, Google's premier email service. As a part of its ongoing interface updates, yesterday Google launched two new themes - “Preview (Dense)” and “Preview”.

Over the last few years, Google added countless features to beef up Gmail, to challenge the dominance of - AIM, Yahoo, and Windows Live (Hotmail). No doubt, such features have turned Gmail into an increasingly powerful communication hub. But it has it's downsides as well! According to the Gmail team the email service has turned exceedingly “cluttered and complex”. Hence the launch of two new themes, which according to the Official Gmail Blog “would eventually expand dynamically to accommodate different screen sizes and include user preferences”. 

Here's a sneak peek at how the themes look like.

New (Left)   vs    Old (Right)

Now here's my personal take on the two new themes.  
  • Preview(Dense) and Preview (see the screenshot above) both looks almost similar. However, as the name suggests, the “Dense” version is more 'compact' while in the other one, the tabs and buttons are more 'spread out'.
  • Unlike ordinary themes that deal with vibrant colors. These two new themes are part of a redesign that addresses elements like the size and shapes of the 'Compose Button', the search buttons, and navigation controls.
  • The new themes look visually enticing as well. Especially, now Gmail looks identical to Google + without all the clutter!
  • The large red 'Compose Button' is the highlight of both the themes. The clean look is more spread out than the Classic Gmail interface. Basking in the white space, it makes finding and reading mails more easier than its earlier avatar.
  • The predominant colors used in both the themes are red, white, and gray, however, according to Google “more colors will follow soon”.
If you're curious to explore, log in to your Gmail account and go to “Mail Settings”. Next click on “Themes” and you'll see two new theme options -“Preview” and Preview(Dense). Select the one you like and unfold the future-look of Gmail!