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Facebook Video Calling: Skype's Doing All The Hard Work

Skype has published a rather intriguing post on its official company blog that explores the intricacies that lay beneath the new Facebook Video Calling service.

The post called "Under the Hood with Facebook Video Calling, Powered by Skype" was penned by Jonathan Rosenberg, Chief Technology Strategist at the Microsoft-owned company.

In it, Rosenberg answers some very interesting questions pertaining to the way Skype integrates with Facebook, whether it will scale, and whether it actually uses Skype's client.

When a user initiates a call on Facebook by pressing the call button, the page checks whether a Skype plugin is present. He reveals that Facebook's servers interact with Skype's ecosystem via a proprietary REST API developed especially for the social network.

An anonymous Skype account is created for new callers but Rosenberg doesn't say whether that account is actually a temporary one that is destroyed after use.

The REST API, he says, allows Facebook servers to obtain a login credential that can be used to log the user in to Skype. From there, everything is handled transparently by Skype's infrastructure, from the "handshaking" between the caller and the callee to the user interface rendered by the Skype Runtime.

Skype, Rosenberg adds, has "substantially increased server counts and added bandwidth" in all of their data centers in order to prevent any drop in QoS or service altogether.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.