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Facebook rolls out chat...slowly

Facebook quietly launched its chat feature over the weekend, but the company plans a slow rollout.In a blog post, Facebook noted:This week marks the launch of Facebook Chat—a new way for you to communicate with your friends in real-time.
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Written by Larry Dignan on

Facebook quietly launched its chat feature over the weekend, but the company plans a slow rollout.

In a blog post, Facebook noted:

This week marks the launch of Facebook Chat—a new way for you to communicate with your friends in real-time. The Wall and Inbox have been the primary ways to communicate, but when more immediacy is necessary—for example when making plans for lunch in half an hour or arguing over a foul call in the NCAA tournament—they might not be enough. Chat aims to fill this gap.

We'll be rolling this out slowly going forward, but fairly soon you'll notice our new Chat bar at the bottom of your browser—no installation or assembly required. From this bar you can view your list of online friends and open conversations with any or all of them. There's no need to setup a "buddy list." Unlike the Wall or Inbox, the messages are delivered and displayed to your friend as soon as they're sent, so you should expect a response right away and without any page loading. Of course, Chat has to play nice with the rest of the Facebook experience. You can collapse conversations to get them out of the way, and go offline if you don't want to use Chat at all. Chat is there when you want it, and tucked away when you don't.

We're working on pulling other features of the site into the real- time Chat world. Your notifications will now arrive in the Chat bar, and while chatting you'll see your friend's Mini-Feed activity thrown into the conversation, as it occurs.

I'm not one of the lucky few that have chat enabled, but plan to use it once it lands. Caroline McCarthy adds that chat is being rolled out slowly to ensure stability. For now, check out Inside Facebook's tour and first impressions.

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