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eBay and by proxy Skype wants to do just more than IM and voice chats. And that is why they’re pushing the service, and its clients, into new directions — from telepresence to video to whatever they can think of next. (My inner skeptic says they have to keep that user base growing in order to spin out or sell Skype.)
According to NewTeeVee, Skype today signed a new deal with San Francisco-based Jaman that “will let Skype users insert film clips into their conversations to share with friends. The new service will be available on Skype over the coming months.”
The way it’s supposed to work is this: There will be a video button added to the bottom of the Skype client, between the green and red call buttons. That will invoke a window where you will be able to share clips and trailers with as many people as you like. By doubling-clicking on the clip you’ll be taken to Jaman, where you can rent or buy the film. But while I unequivocally love Jaman — its wide array of foreign films helped me through my recovery process, especially when I couldn’t blog — I’m not sure many people would use this new feature.
That said, video on Skype is seriously hot. I was talking to one of their PR people last week and she told me that 28 percent of Skype calls are video calls, proving that video calling is going mainstream much faster than even my best guess. The Skype people, however, think it recently got a big boost because of Oprah.
Oprah has integrated more than 25 Skype video calls on her TV show in the last eight weeks. (Check out how Oprah is using Skype to chat with Jenny McCarthy.) But Skype doesn’t have a lock on the video chat market. A startup called ooVoo in New York launched a video chat service last June that’s connecting over 2 million video conversations per month. It’s now working with laptop maker Quanta to bring HD chat to computers and TVs. Of course, most PCs now come equipped with webcams — indeed, calling and seeing family is one of the most important things we use our computers for now.