Saturday, February 13, 2010
Now You Can IM Your Facebook Friends With AIM
Facebook and AOL Instant Messenger have made a deal: Now you can send IMs to your Facebook friends using the new AIM beta client for Mac or Windows.
It was already possible to merge AIM’s Lifestream with Facebook’s News Feed — and with Twitter (Twitter), too. But Facebook’s IM network has always been a bit unfriendly to outside connections. The Mac desktop app Adium (Adium) supports Facebook (Facebook), but with frequent disconnections and other issues.
Web IM app Meebo (Meebo) has had an on-again, off-again relationship with the social network. It was one of the first to support Facebook, but when Facebook Connect went live, the network asked Meebo to rework its IM network connections around that new framework. The result was a Facebook outage on Meebo. The issue has since been rectified.
AIM (aim) uses Facebook Connect to integrate with Facebook IM, too. When you load up the beta for the first time, you’ll see an option just above your contacts to connect with Facebook. Do that and all your Facebook friends will appear in your AIM contact list. You can chat with them just like you can with your AIM buddies. We tried it, and it seemed to work well.
It’s Neat, But…
We’d still like to see Facebook’s IM network open up completely to third-party applications without any workarounds or hoops to jump through.
We just spoke about Google Buzz’s lack of support for Facebook, and this is the same sort of issue. Whether we’re talking about instant message networks or web-based social networks, there are too many islands out there and it’s not easy enough to sail between them. The AIM/Facebook deal is an exciting one. We just wish it wasn’t necessary to begin with.
Update: Shortly after we published, Facebook appears to have granted us our wish. The company announced on their blog that they’re opening up Chat to all IM clients.