March 16, 2008 |
It seems to be FaceBook's plan to continue expanding as the primary destination for social networking needs. That being the case, they've been missing a few key components that their competitors, like MySpace, already offer. One of these has been a viable instant messaging service.
Recent rumors have surfaced that FaceBook has been working on an instant message solution using the Jabber platform. Not only that, it seems we may see the results of this backstage work as early as next week. The decision to work with Jabber is key, as it will allow those of us who use a service like Adium or Trillian to see our instant messages from FaceBook friends without having to be logged in to FaceBook.
The instant message service will operate on the FaceBook site. It is reported to allow users to talk to other people already in their profile who have the service activated. If it were limited to the FaceBook site and did not have Jabber as its backbone, i might not use it – I don't have that kind of time to spend on one site alone. However, with the portability of Jabber, I may find myself installing yet another instant message service, adding to the long list of those I already use.
There are already plenty of third party applications on FaceBook supplying various degrees of instant message assistance. I think that having one source for instant messaging on FaceBook is a better solution. I haven't signed up with any of the current slate of third party applications because none of my friends use the same one, and that would require installing too many. The fact that FaceBook implementing its own solution would kill off these third party applications seemed to bother others in the tech world, but I think it's a good thing from the user's point of view. The only question now is what took FaceBook so long to create its own solution?