Facebook users to join the IM crowd

Facebook users frustrated by having to switch between internet chat clients to keep in touch with contacts from other messaging services could be set for an upgrade, according to an instant messaging expert.

Facebook users to join the IM crowd

The upgrade relies on a key component of Facebook’s connection interface to the XMPP protocol, which is an open, XML-based standard that drives several instant messaging clients, including Jabber, Google Talk and Apple’s iChat.

According to Mickael Remond, CEO of instant messaging company ProcessOne, a long-awaited software element that should enable Facebook users to link to rival services is finally ready for rollout.

“This is huge news for XMPP because it consolidates the protocol as the de-facto open standard for instant messaging,” said Remond. Facebook said it intended to add an XMPP interface in May last year, but Remond says his company’s software bot has recently noticed that the XMPP software stack had finally been deployed on chat.facebook.com.

This should make Facebook status updates, profile pictures and other features visible to iChat and Google Talk subscribers.

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