Facebook launch XMPP support for chat

Yesterday evening a posting on the Facebook Developer Blog announced support for the XMPP protocol (also known as 'Jabber') within Facebook chat. This addition means that users of Facebook are able to connect with their friends instantly using a client such as Pidgin or Adium, without having to load the full Facebook page. Facebook chat currently sees over two billion messages being sent per day, and with support from desktop clients via an open source protocol, this is only going to grow.

Whilst most Jabber implementations support server-to-server connections, it appears that Facebook has not included this feature, and there are no indications as to whether it will be added in the future. Server-to-server communications allow contacts to communicate cross-domain, for example, were it to be included at a later date, it would be possible to communicate with Google Talk users via your Facebook chat account.

While a number of Instant Messaging clients have added support for Facebook chat in the past, these implementations have been prone to bugs, by enabling users to connect via a tried and tested protocol, Facebook have improved the end-user experience, and made it a lot easier to keep in touch with your Facebook friends. Facebook have also launched a page with a simple guide to setup popular instant messaging applications.

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26 Comments

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DeltaFalcon said,
It would be nice if they allowed SSL/TLS. Maybe when they implement the Server to server capability...
Woops. Just posted this 3 below.

Yeah. Until Facebook supports something as basic as SSL/TLS I will not be using it.

People, may IM apps already have Facebook chat but Facebook is switching to another protocol -- XMPP, the same one that Google Talk uses. Using this standard means your Digsbies and Pidgins and so on will get better, and you can expect better interoperability.

burnblue said,
People, may IM apps already have Facebook chat but Facebook is switching to another protocol -- XMPP, the same one that Google Talk uses. Using this standard means your Digsbies and Pidgins and so on will get better, and you can expect better interoperability.

right but those where a bit of a hack when compared to this, that weren't as reliable as a proper protocol like XMPP :)

it already works on iChat on my Mac, go to add a new Jabber account, enter USERNAME@chat.facebook.com then your facebook password and it signs in, remember to change USERNAME to your facebook user

Digsby does this already though correct? I mean my facebook chats come up as instant message windows just like AIM and MSN through digsby.

Adium, Digsby (and others) have supported Facebook IM for awhile now. It always seemed pretty reliable and usable. Not sure how using a open source protocol will improve on something that already works well. Although 3rd party FB IM implementation was buggy at first, it is solid now. I would say that 3rd party FB IM is more stable and usable than the in-page IM client.

Looks like Jabber support file transfers. Will this capability be included? That would be fantastic :).

Shadrack said,
Adium, Digsby (and others) have supported Facebook IM for awhile now. It always seemed pretty reliable and usable. Not sure how using a open source protocol will improve on something that already works well. Although 3rd party FB IM implementation was buggy at first, it is solid now. I would say that 3rd party FB IM is more stable and usable than the in-page IM client.

Looks like Jabber support file transfers. Will this capability be included? That would be fantastic :).

It improves on it because all those current implementations you talk about the programs have to pretend to be browsing the facebook website, and anyone who's used the chat through the browser knows how flakey it can be, let alone doing it through a reverse engineered "hack".

Using XMPP means that the clients can use a proper IM protocol, cut out some of the wasted headers/bandwidth and provide more stability.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't Pidgin had Facebook support for a while now? I could have sworn that when I installed it a few months ago I was able to chat with people on Facebook.

Maybe but not in a oficial way. There are a addon for Messenger (not Plus!) that integrates FB Chat too. But now, with this XMPP hope Messenger integrates it

spacer said,
Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't Pidgin had Facebook support for a while now? I could have sworn that when I installed it a few months ago I was able to chat with people on Facebook.

Yes, using the pidgin-facebookchat library - I've been using it too through Adium for a while now. It's not always been that stable, and it can make using Facebook and pidgin-facebookchat simultaneously a chore as it essentially emulates a normal Facebook website session and that often makes the site hate you. But now we have XMPP? Happy days!

Edited by tomjol, Feb 11 2010, 6:51pm :

According to this article, they are "looking in to" opening up server-to-server XMPP communication.

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/facebook_opens_im_to_developers_drops_ball_on_inte.php

That'd be really awesome, since I use Google Talk from Gmail as my main chat application these days. Probably be another two years before they get to that, though. :-P

This is great really.
With this I can finally leave MSN and start using the Google Talk & Facebook combo on iChat.

Now to find a way to allow Google Talk on PC to have multiple accounts /servers