Facebook has opened its Facebook Chat application to work with outside instant messaging applications such as AOL Instant Messenger, the social network said Feb. 10.
Facebook engineer David Reiss, who noted that Facebook’s 400 million-plus users send two billion chat messages per day, said users can now connect their Facebook account with their instant messaging client of choice.
Users can bring their friends from Facebook Chat to AIM, and other services without touching Facebook.com. This affords users the flexibility of taking Facebook Chat contacts they might not have on AIM or other IM clients and port them to those legacy clients rather than create new and separate buddy lists.
AOL stands firmly behind this integration. When AIM users log in to their buddy lists, they will now see button for Facebook Connect, which helps extend Facebook functionality to third-party sites. Users can click this button to link both accounts and chat with Facebook friends from AIM.
Some users may not want all of their Facebook Chat friends to appear on AIM or other clients supported by Jabber/XMPP. These Facebook users can select who may appear by adjusting them on Facebook Chat. To go offline, users may close their instant messaging client or click “go offline” in their Facebook Chat options.
See the Facebook Chat section of the Facebook site tour for instructions on how to connect to other IM clients, such as iChat Pidgin, Adium and Miranda clients.
Facebook engineer Serkan Piantino also has some advice for developers looking to link Facebook Chat with other IM clients using Facebook Connect.
“While we don’t anticipate capacity issues, please let us know if you plan to add support for Facebook Chat within your application and have more than 100,000 users connecting each day,” Piantino wrote. “To help make sure you’re successful, we want to ensure our servers are ready to handle the additional load.”
Meanwhile, Chamath Palihapitiya, vice president of user growth, mobile and international at Facebook, reported that more than 100 million people actively using Facebook from their mobile devices every month.
This is a sign of the growing trend of the convergence of social Web services and smartphones with full HTML Web browsers.