Facebook’s chat service has become one of the most used features on the site but for many the service has become little more than an annoyance. The problem being that once you appear online, you would be regularly contacted by people that you don’t know or don’t care to chat with. While you may not want to chat at that moment, it’s nice to have the ability to see who’s currently online.
Thanks to a couple of new features within the chat service, it should no longer be annoying. There is now the ability to filter your friends based on your friend lists and you can even create friend lists from within the chat application. Having users displayed within friend lists is also an optional feature. The most important feature is the ability to control which friends see you online and which can’t.
This will most likely be a lifesaver for the most active Facebook users. Within the past half hour I’ve received multiple emails from users who have been seeing the feature rolled out. While I haven’t been able to use the new service it appears to be extremely useful. Facebook formally announced the new feature on their blog just over an hour ago.
Facebook is increasingly integrating the friend list features into all aspects of the site. Friend lists give users greater control of their privacy and are extremely useful for filtering through feed content. Every user that I’ve spoken to in the last half hour about this feature has been extremely happy have greater control over their chat settings.
While Facebook has stated that they’ll roll out a formal chat developer service in the future, no timetables have been set. One can assume that this friend list capability is what Facebook intends to use as a differentiator from existing chat services. Do you like the upgraded chat application? Do you actively manage your friend lists?