Facebook’s instant message service, Chat, has been live on other sites for more than a year. But now the company is officially announcing that it is available to use within third-party IM clients, and within other IM services. AOL’s AIM is one example, as we covered earlier today.
Like Google does with Gtalk, Facebook is using the Jabber (XMPP) open messaging protocol. So any client that supports Jabber can support Facebook Chat. These include: Apple’s iChat, Adium, Pidgin, Digsby and many others. However, that doesn’t mean Facebook Chat is directly interoperable with other Jabber chat services, like Google Talk.
As seen in the AIM integration, users can also access Friend Lists, so they can see which friends in which lists are available to talk to.
Beyond Facebook Chat itself, Facebook is also offering Facebook Connect for Chat, so others can integrate it into their services, using Connect to verify users’ identities and access their Chat information.
Overall, official Jabber support, plus greater prominence on the new Facebook home page, should boost Facebook’s chat metrics overall in the weeks ahead. Check out the official tour page for more.