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Facebook announces built-in video calling, new chat design

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Facebook will add Skype video chats to its social networking service, in a move to try to further cement its role as a communication hub.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the agreement with Skype Wednesday, and said the free new service will roll out over the next few weeks.

"Video calling is the first example of what we think is a great social app," Zuckerberg said at a news conference at the company’s Palo Alto, California headquarters Wednesday, adding, "We’re going to see a lot more things like this.”

Zuckerberg said Facebook had been working with Skype to add the video chats for months, before Microsoft — which owns 1.6 percent of Facebook — said it was buying Skype.

Zuckerberg also announced that Facebook now has 750 million users; Skype has 145 million regular users.

"This is opening up a whole new user base for Skype," said Kim Caughey Forrest, senior analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group.

Facebook will also offer a group chat messaging in addition to its existing one-on-one chat service.

The Facebook announcements came a week after Google launched its own social networking service, Google+, which offers videoconferencing for up to 10 people.

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