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Facebook Chat Announcement

6 Jul

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Last week, Google announced its first official attempt to make a run at Facebook, with its “Google Circles” application.  The program aims to separate your friends into various groups that you can customize yourself.  The idea is a good one: instead of posting a status about drinking heavily and the girl you banged last night and having not only your friends but your parents, grandparents, and the girl you banged see it, you can tailor exactly who will receive each post.  Facebook early this morning promised an “awesome” announcement of its own, and this afternoon, Mark Zuckerberg announced a partnership with Skype for video chat capabilities. 

My problem with Facebook chat was always the fact that you simply don’t want to talk to everyone on it.  With Gchat, you have to get an invite and an acceptance from that person, which results in a list of people you are actually friends with.  99% of my conversations on Facebook have been with creepy people I haven’t talked to in 6 years.  Today’s announcement also shed some light on Facebook’s changes to chat, with a group chat feature (if you add someone that is offline they’ll get a summary later on like an email).  What this comes down to is that while Facebook chat looks improved (the Skype feature is clearly awesome), it still doesn’t challenge Google’s chat capabilities or really bring anything new to the table.  Conversely, while Google Circles is a great idea, it’s going to be incredibly hard to overtake the market lead Facebook has, now with 750 million users (as Mark Zuckerberg announced today).  Zuckerberg, when asked about Google, responded the following, and he’s exactly right. 

“Companies that focus will always do better than ones that try to do a million things. As far as the Google stuff goes, I’m not going to say a lot. The next 5 years are about building apps. A lot of companies that haven’t been social in the past, not just Google, will be building social apps. In some cases they’ll build on existing infrastructure, in some they’ll build their own. Facebook’s job is to stay focused.

Above is a slideshow of some of the changes set to hit Facebook, and for the official announcement from Facebook’s blog, click here.

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