It’s been in the works for a while, but it seems that today was the mass roll out of the Facebook Chat Application, well i say application but it isnt the usual FB app whereby you install it on a canvas page and then it shows up in your profile, oh no sir e Bob (what am i American?).
Basically you have a little bar that sits at the bottom of the page when browsing Facebook, think of it as kind of a Windows Start bar but at the bottom of the browser.
Anyway, its fairly inconspicuous and to be honest i am pretty impressed by the way the people at Facebook have implemented it, of course you also have the option to turn it off if you feel it is getting in the way.
Lets have a little look at whats on offer…
Above is the little notification section, if you keep this open then you will get notifications even when you are browsing on other peoples profiles. Normally you would have to go back to the home page.
Next we have the chat status tab, obviously you can change whether you are online, offline, sleeping, away, etc. You can also make the chat a popup window, then you can obviously alt tab between your work and your chat window you sneak. Also you have some settings which are pretty thin on the ground at the moment.
Next up is this meat and potatoes of the chat app, your friends who are actually online and who you can chat with. Its basically a list with all their status’s on, also you can see people who are set to away. Pretty much like any standard chat client.
Finally we have the chat window, nothing too special about this, it does support smilies, and if you open multiple chats with people then they will align them self along the bottom bar just like minimising windows in err windows.
So that’s a whirlwind tour, i personally dont think that the new chat app is that much of a big deal. Its kinda nice having easy access to see who is online and I guess its pretty cool to just ping people if you see them, but at the end of the day we have had messenger systems for ages and most people you want to talk too will already be on there. Obviously if you want to keep chatting with people then you will need to leave Facebook open which could cause some issues with your employer, but i am sure many people will find it useful and i dont doubt that i will use it to quickly ping people who i may not have spoken to for a while.