Facebook, AOL Join Forces To Take Chat By Storm

AIM is the first major instant messaging service to take advantage of Facebook Chat's new API/interface.

According to a post by David Reiss on Facebook's blog, 2 billion chat messages are sent on the site every day. Now, those IMs can be sent from a desktop instant messaging client, like AOL's AIM. Users connect their Facebook accounts to their preferred instant messaging client and can chat with "Facebook friends" without having to be logged in to Facebook.com.

Facebook is using Jabber (XMPP), an open messaging protocol supported by most instant messaging software, including iChat, Pidgin, Adium and Miranda.

"We've also built support for Facebook Chat into Facebook Connect for developers wishing to build chat experiences into their Web site, desktop or mobile instant messaging applications and services," wrote Reiss.

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Facebook Chat also wil be tightly integrated with the Lifestream app, which takes updates and feeds from different social networking sites and aggregates them into the AIM environment.

The partnership is crucial to move AOL back into the forefront of instant messaging, a category it largely invented with its AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) in 1997.

"Integrating AIM and Facebook Chat is a great step on the path we're pursuing to offer universal access through AIM across a variety of communications platforms," said Michelle Trainor, vice president of AIM, "and users can look forward to more innovations to come."