It is fascinating to hear how Facebook and Skype work together – the news this week that the companies have a solution merging the best of social and video has shaken the industry up a great deal but now the details on how the system works are beginning to emerge.
TMC’s Tom Keating has an extensive podcast interview with Chaim Haas with Skype PR and IP communications veteran Jonathan Rosenberg, Skype’s Chief Technology Strategist where he learned everything you need to know.
New Skype APIs There are Skype server APIs made available to Facebook users which allow “shadow” accounts to be created with random Skype IDs. This happens even if you have a permanent Skype account.
Stripped down client: The Skype client used in this instance is stripped down (just does p2p no supernode functionality or unnecessary UI or codecs) so it will download quickly. It doesn’t use Adobe Flash as some web reports have stated incorrectly.
Thank you Amazon: All the Facebook calling is supported by server supernodes – no PC supernodes – with cloud support from Amazon EC2.
No PSTN just yet: There is no PSTN calling at the moment but in the future there could be. Some interesting use cases are the ability to allow calls to mobile phones based on profile or even e-commerce and click-to-call.
No HTML5: There were rumors of the client being HTML5 – sadly it isn’t – that would have been great to see as it could have conceivable run on all platforms like iPads, etc. As you can imagine, the company had to work on scaling this app – as there are over 750M active users on Facebook – even more than Skype users.
Will it scale? The question now is will the Skype network which has had a number of outages these past few years be able to to deal with flash crowds, update issues and more. It will be interesting to watch as the company says they are ready for a “ridiculous amount” of flash crowds and they can built-in massive database capacity to handle the potential of doubling user growth in a few weeks! And this is from a user base of hundreds of millions already!
Protecting the base: Moreover, the company has segmented its network so current Skype users are isolated and protected from harm if there are any issues.
Not reactionary: One final point is this collaboration has been worked on for many months so this news isn’t a response to Google or as a result of the Microsoft acquisition of Skype.