Facebook Chat now working in iChat, Pidgin, Adium, and more


Prime VIP
Since its inception in April of 2008, Facebook Chat has remained an exclusive domain of the web interface, requiring users to log in to their Facebook account in order to exchange messages with their friends. That changed Wednesday when the social networking giant announced plans to make Facebook Chat available on just about any third-party instant messaging client built on an open, XML-based protocol formerly named Jabber.
A Facebook engineer David Reiss wrote in a company blog post that users can now exchange instant messages in their favorite chat client without logging in to their Facebook account on the web:
By integrating Facebook Chat with your preferred instant messenger, you’ll never miss a message when you have to navigate away from Facebook and you’ll be in control of how and where you chat with your Facebook friends. Simply connect your Facebook account with the instant messaging client of your choice and start chatting. You will not need to stay logged in to Facebook.com to continue to access your Facebook friends.
Your chat client will show only your Facebook friends belonging to Friend Lists enabled in Facebook Chat on the site. You can go offline on Facebook Chat either by closing your instant messaging client or clicking “go offline” in your Facebook Chat options on the web. The company said it built support for Facebook Chat into Facebook Connect for developers, allowing third-party sites, desktop or mobile instant messaging applications, and services to integrate Facebook Chat experiences.
As we reported earlier this week, AOL Instant Messenger, AOL’s messaging client also built on the Jabber protocol, filed as the first third-party chat client to support Facebook Chat in a new version of the software, currently in beta. Meanwhile, Facebook has posted simple instructions detailing how to enable Facebook Chat in a number of Jabber-based instant messaging clients, including iChat, Adium, Pidgin, and other Windows/Mac/Linux clients.

In order to enable Facebook Chat in Mac OS X’s iChat, go to the applications preferences, click the Accounts tab, and a new Jabber account. Next, provide your screen name in the form of username@chat.facebook.com and your Facebook password. You also need to add chat.facebook.com at port 5222 in your Server Options and un-check the SSL option. Instructions for other chat clients follow a similar approach.
Only Friend Lists enabled in the web interface appear in your chat client.

Facebook has detailed how to enable Facebook Chat in Pidgin (Windows/Mac/Linux), Adium or Apple’s iChat on the Mac, and other chat clients on Windows, Mac, or Linux. Theoretically, you should be able to enable Facebook Chat in any chat client that uses the Jabber protocol, including Google Talk in Gmail. However, widely-used instant messaging apps like Skype, ICQ, and Windows Live Messenger can’t connect to Facebook Chat because they use proprietary protocols rather than Jabber.
Many commentators, this author included, noticed that Facebook opened up its chat following the Google Buzz announcement. The search giant introduced the Buzz service earlier this week in an effort to draw consumers away from Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks by offering a tight integration of content sharing features inside the Gmail web interface. Facebook claims than two billion chat messages are exchanged on its site every day.