Facebook have officially entered into the IM (Instant Messaging) space as of today. Here’s my initial thoughts…
Their chat client is built right into their website as a tool bar strip at the bottom of the users Home page. Because it looks very similar to the tool bar on Windows, it’s an extremely familiar piece of UI (User Interface), which many will find welcoming.
There’s a chance Facebook could commit megadeath across a huge swathe of the chat client market. Consider the implications for Google’s chat client GTalk, as well as many others.
Now that Facebook is offering IM, there’s one less reason to have one more application running, when most of your friends are already on Facebook to begin with.
That said, in terms of features, Facebook’s chat doesn’t compete with the likes of Microsoft’s MSN Messenger. However, some of MSN’s features are just plain annoying.
So far, there’s been mixed reviews, although some are warming to the idea of IM right inside Facebook. I imagine that with such a general release, there’s going to be a ton of chat traffic thundering through people’s profiles, mostly confusing or annoying those signing in first thing, unaware of this new feature / tool.
I’m confident the new chat client will alleviate a lot of the bandwidth issues for Facebook; consider the amount of bandwidth and computer resources that are being chewed up every time someone sends a message, for example.
Also, the chat client tool bar offers the option to see who’s on-line, which will also save on needless page views.
There’s also a pop-up windowed version of the chat client, which will be a welcome option for a lot of people who like to segregate their various Internet-related activities.
Might we see a new wave of corporate policies specifically banning Facebook use during work time? Maybe there’s a case for Facebook working with corporate policy makers?
For many businesses, Social Networks like Facebook offer unique challenges to corporate policies.
Facebook could offer options to allow business to hook the Facebook profiles of staff members into their corporate networks, creating Friends Lists — which are essentially groups of friends.
These groups could be divided between work and personal, where certain groups of friends can be blocked or limited during working hours.
As I said, these are initial thoughts, so feel free to add your own.