There is a rumor running wild right now that Facebook will launch their own integrated chat client into the very famous web site. They are currently testing the client to see how it all fits into the interface and get the kinks out of the way as much as possible. The bulk of the IM Client is built on the popular Jabber engine and this should make it easily compatible with a bunch of other applications and help it grow popular very quickly.
The interface to the Facebook IM will be integrated directly into the user’s Facebook page and allow them to chat with all their friends on the site. I personally like the idea because I do not have all my Facebook friends on my MSN (or any other client for that matter) and this allows you to chat with people you might not have been able to reach previously. I know for a fact that many of my contacts on facebook don’t even use any other IM Clients and this will make my life easier (and make me lazier) when I want to reach them. Hopefully, there will be a good presence awareness mecanism built into it. I tried a chat client for facebook previously which did not do such a great job at that.
This is some really cool news for those of us who like to keep close with their social networks, but it could be a bit of bad news for other, already existing chat clients which are built on the Facebook framework. I don’t think the blow will be that severe, because there are so many chat clients out there, that war has not been won by anyone yet. I’m sure some other client will come by that will have all the features we wish were in the Facebook one.. and then Facebook will put out a version which will integrate all those nifty features :-)