I am not a chat junkie, neither I have lots of free hours to spend daily on various social networking sites. But when it comes to staying in touch with friend, I prefer Facebook and their new chat interface is making me love Facebook more and more.
Here are my reasons…
Facebook was allowing you to create and manage groups of friends from sometime. Now these same groups are integrated into chat feature. You can set your visibility settings for each group individually.
You can also select which friend-lists will appear by clicking on “Friend Lists”. One step ahead you can mark yourself online/offline for any group (friend list) by clicking on a small icon present next to each friend-list name. (see screenshot)
I had already grouped all Facebook contacts into different groups and now all I did was set myself invisible for all unwanted contact in one go! 😉
Chat features now has many new options. Some of them deserves immediate attention.
- “Show Only Names in Online Friends” – If you have may long friend-list then their display pic thumbnail may make you scroll a lot! Use this option and you will get compact list with names only. This will hide your friends pics and their status updates displayed below their name.
- “Keep Online Friends Window Open” – This keeps your online friend list window always open. I find this option very cool for wide screen monitors. Facebook have center aligned fix width design which leaves lots of whitespace on both sides. So keeping online friends window open just uses that whitespace!
I have few more reasons to love Facebook chat! Some of them are as follows…
- Browser Based – Facebook chat is browser based! Which makes it accessible from most platforms. Now this has nothing to do with me being a Mac user. I can use Facebook chat/Google Talk from Mac using Adium desktop app but I prefer accessing these things from browsers.
- Light Weight – I like its overall interface which is very quick to load. Unlike Meebo or other web-based chat apps, Facebook chat eats up very less bandwidth.
- Popup Version – I have bookmarked popup version chat URL and I use it more frequently. This reminds me Yahoo’s web-based chat engine in old days. Here is the link – http://www.facebook.com/presence/popout.php
Things I still want to change!
First thing they should fix is “history feature”. Google talk changed my habit of taking notes from chat sessions. If I need some link my friend gave me over a chat I directly go to Gmail chat history and find it out there. Now with Facebook, I find myself in problem sometime and then have to send an email like “dude I lost that kool link about blah…blah app u gave to me over chat. plz send it again!”
As of now you can mark yourself online or offline only. I want ability to stay invisible at group-level as well.
Overall this new version of Facebook chat is way better than others! I personally find it best!
What do you think?