Facebook Says Hello To New Chat Features, Good-Bye To IE6


Facebook is vowing to improve its popular, yet not-always-reliable, Chat feature. And the planned changes mean dropping support for Microsoft's Internet Explorer 6 browser.

Facebook is making improvements to the way Chat connections are established and messages are sent in an effort to make the feature more "stable," said Rodrigo Schmidt, a software engineer on Facebook's Chat team, in a blog post Wednesday.

"Many of you have told us that sometimes your Chat session comes and goes or even stops completely," Schmidt wrote. "We're working hard to end those interruptions so that your experience is stable and consistent."

Launched two years ago, Facebook Chat has become one of the Web site's most widely used tools, according to Schmidt. While he did not offer usage statistics, Facebook has more than 500 million active members.

Facebook has already improved Chat in recent weeks by fixing bugs and improving the technology the feature runs on, Schmidt said, without offering details. In coming weeks the company "will be making important improvements in the way connections are established and messages are sent, so that Chat will be more stable for you and your friends," the blog said.

But the biggest improvements come from changes that aren't supported on older Web browsers, Schmidt said, so Facebook has decided that starting Sept. 15 it will no longer support Internet Explorer 6.