Last Friday, in a somewhat a stereotypical fashion, I was down my Club celebrating a friend’s birthday whilst socializing with his social group. Despite knowing each other through work and training (of the fitness kind), being a somewhat nerdy bunch working respectively in different fields within IT – a software testing manager, software engineer (C++) and a technical business development manager – the conversation swiftly moved towards communication and Facebook’s dominance, and how it had become the new opium for the masses.
I’m sure you’ll agree with my little focus groups conclusion that Facebook’s chat tool isn’t the most robust chatting system out there – indeed, Skype and Google Talk – just for example, offer a far more secure and reliable chatting service. However, as you’ve probably noticed as a social chatting platform, Facebook is unrivalled.
In terms of architecture, Facebook chat is built on a customized open XMPP platform, which indeed is the same architecture that Google Talk was built on and Microsoft is moving Windows Live Messenger to. As such, and given that Facebook have opened up their API’s it’s been possible for third party developers to create bespoke applications around Facebook chatting.
In short, there are some excellent third party Facebook chat apps that get around the Facebook homepage short comings.
Chit Chat for Facebook (Web) is one of those excellent third party Facebook chat apps. Launched just last month, Chit Chat (Web) is the latest Facebook chat application developed by Athena IT Limited. Athena IT Limited have previously developed popular Facebook chat tools for Windows, Blackberry, the iPhone and now for your internet browser.
The new Facebook web messenger goes above and beyond in comparison to regular Facebook chat. The first thing that you’ll notice is that Chit Chat provides an pleasing to the eye interface – and an interface, that you’d probably be happy to chat on for long periods of time in the foreground or the background without getting distracted by rapidly updating Facebook feeds.
More usefully, the online Facebook chat tool provides constant updates informing you whom has logged out of Facebook and who has logged in. Additionally, Chit Chat (Web) let’s you know when your friends are “away” – i.e. have not used Facebook chat for a long period of time.
Unlike many of the other third party Facebook login chat messenger tools out there, Chit Chat (Web) has been designed specifically with Facebook chat in mind. As such, there have been no compromises made in order to cater for a dozen other communication networks – i.e. all the functionality successfully lines up with Facebook chat and it all works as is expected.
Those of you with reading difficulties, or that are engaged in long technical conversations will be pleased to hear that instant messages are shown much larger than in Facebook chat by default. Moreover, the instant messaging window can be made “full” screen for your browser – this is ideal if you’re engaged in a long technical conversation.
To be critical of Chit Chat (Web) is that whilst the chatting experience provided has a lot of finesse and elegance – it lacks a few geeky extras such as auto responding tools or automatic acceptance of friend requests. Both of which, would make this tool useful for client facing Facebook messaging.
That said, if you’re the kind of person that likes to use advanced third party tools that upgrade the regular experience – then Chit Chat (Web) is for you. The graceful interface, status alert technology, text formatting and smiley insertion functionality I’m sure will win you over on their own merits.