Chit Chat Provides a Fuller-Featured Desktop Client for Facebook Chat

The Facebook Chat system has never really felt as robust as many of the standalone instant messaging systems such as Yahoo! or Windows Live Messenger. However, with so many users connected to Facebook, it’s certainly something that’s been made use of with Facebook Connect on ICQ or instant messaging clients such as Pidgin. And, actually, Windows Live Messenger has also turned into a hit with users lately.

Well, here’s another option from a small UK startup by the name of Chit Chat.

Its product of the same name is a quick and lightweight downloadable Windows app that lets you use Facebook Chat in a more traditional IM interface. Automatically filling the friends list with everyone befriended on Facebook when you log in using Connect, it provides a windowed means to chat with friends online without having to be on itself.

The application has a few features beyond Chat as well, that are more typical of most other IM programs. This includes access to emoticons within the chat, status alerts, and the all-important ability to save your chat history. It also allows for small amount of text formatting in forms of color, size, boldness, and so on. As it stands, however, there is no window customization as with programs such as Windows Live. Still, there is some minor sound customization when it comes to alerts and notifications (e.g. friends signing in).

In line with the Facebook connectivity, Chit Chat also has quick access to everyone’s Facebook Walls. Directly from the program, users can not only post and update their status, but are also able to make Wall postings to anyone on their friends list. Also, there is a “music status” icon by the status updates as well as options in the app preferences, but there isn’t any clear indication (on the website or otherwise) as to what it is for. That said, it actually will post status updates based on whatever music the user is currently listening to. The update is a little delayed, however.

There are really no significant issues with the Chit Chat app, but it does have a few minor qualms. One of the nice things about windowed chat, is that users can alt tab through them. Unfortunately, Chit Chat puts all conversations in a single window with tabs within it (tabs in Firefox or Internet Explorer). This isn’t a bad thing, but it would be nice to have the option to make them all independent windows. Additionally, it is a bit slow on the uptake when it comes to online/offline updates. A couple of times, it wasn’t until we sent a message from another account to the Chit Chat user that it went recognized that person as online. Even so, it’s an extremely minor issue, as it does, eventually, update.

Overall, Chit Chat is another IM option for Facebook users that utilize the network for all their social communication. It isn’t as sophisticated as some of the stand-alone programs out there, but it gets the job done and is far more convenient than Facebook Chat itself. That in mind, it’s another decent, and free, option for users to download and try.