As I implied toward the end of last week, it appears as though the chat launch is imminent. Well, Facebook has just announced that they are rolling out Facebook chat this week. The first change will be a chat bar at the bottom of your web browser. There is no installation required and will start being available in the next day or so. Facebook chat will also be integrated with other features of the site.
Notifications from applications and pages will now be sent directly to the chat application. Additionally, new mini-feed items of your friends will be posted to this chat applications. For those individuals with a lot of friends I could see this feature becoming increasingly annoying. While Facebook will keep a log of your conversations, you can immediately delete them. Oh and about those annoying mini-feed notifications that I just mentioned, apparently you can turn off that feature through the chat settings panel.
This new feature will be an exciting upgrade to the site. It also appears to be a move to try to keep people engaged on the Facebook site for a longer duration. It reminds me of Gchat prior to the GTalk application and how I always needed to keep a browser tab open for browsing. Perhaps this is what Facebook is hoping for. I would suggest that Facebook follow in Google’s footsteps and launch a FBTalk application. Just a thought!