Technological market domination changes quickly. Before Facebook “FB”, we had MySpace. But before MySpace there were instant messaging programs – chat apps. MSN Messenger, AIM, Yahoo Messenger and ICQ dominated the chat app market until users decided that instant messaging was really rather too instant and that wall posts were the new standard for communication – where we could sit and admire our witty and thought-provoking correspondence long into the night.
In April 2008, FB married the two forms of communication together to produce FB Chat which had the Google ‘more bones than meat’ approach. Simply put, FB chat gave us functionality over presentation, but essentially provided yet another communication option. If Facebook private messaging was FB’s version of Gmail, then FB chat was definitely Facebook’s version of in-browser Google Talk.
So, what do you do if you want the convenience of FB Chat, but like a traditional chat app?
Cue Chit Chat for FB. The fb chat app download was a pretty quick and mess-free install (ideal for a technophobe like me!) Within a couple of minutes the FB chat app, Chit Chat, was up and running.
From a design perspective, I felt immediately at ease with the professional and simplistic chat window. It has a clean, sparse layout. Some might find the look a little basic but it has the fundamentals you need to get talking to your FB friends. The status bar at the top of the window is a useful addition to update your status without having to log into FB on Internet Explorer or Google Chrome.
For those who remember MSN Messenger, whereby you had the option of countless fonts, emoticons and even sound files will immediately feel at home with this FB Chat app.
There are a host of modifications available in the Tools tab, among which I found the ability to alter notification tones to any audio file particularly useful. Moreover, the chat app also features the ability to let people know what you’re listening to using the Music Status Alerts, which sync with Winamp and Windows Media Player. Of course, it was also handy to be able to turn these notifications off when I was feeling anti-social, but there certainly is scope for customisation.
Whilst the design might seem Spartan, the conversation window provides many more options including support of limitless fonts and emoticons. Also, for those who remember trying to decipher tiny and hard-to-read fonts on previous instant messaging programs, Chit Chat for Facebook allows you to edit the way your friends’ fonts appear in your conversations.
The conversation window is tabbed, so you can flick between FB conversations without having to minimize windows and if you’ve logged in after a few too many beverages to talk to your ex, you won’t be able to stop her from reading your lovely drunken messages, but you can at least save your conversation so you’ll understand why you’re still single in the morning! Equally, you can clear the FB chat history if your cyber love letters were really that cringe worthy.
Chit Chat for FB is a program for people who want to chat to their friends real-time but for whom FB Chat isn’t quite comprehensive enough. It’s more customisable, just as easy to use but more importantly, can be used a standalone instant messenger so you don’t even need to load your internet explorer.
You can download Chit Chat for FB here.