IM is coming; IM is coming! Facebook IM, that is
Sam Sethi has a great scoop over at Blognation reporting that Facebook will be getting a Flash-based IM client as early as this Friday. Holy Huzzah!
Sam was privy to an early preview of the forthcoming instant messaging application and says it doesn’t require users to download or install any kind of software. Even cooler is that, unlike most Facebook apps, this one doesn’t require you to register in order to use it. All users have to do is sign in and they’re good to go.
I know Susan is over there rolling her eyes but this is actually a really big deal for Facebook users. It means Jane and I will no longer have to send each other a series of 27 Wall messages late at night in order to talk LOLCats to one another. Now we can just use Facebook IM? Aren’t you excited for us?
Seriously, though, adding a central IM application to Facebook, where all users can communication with one another without having to worry about varying platforms (AIM/Yahoo/MSN/Skype, etc), will help make Facebook even stickier than it already is. [I still don't get why you couldn't just use a regular IM program. --Susan] Because that assumes that all of your friends are using the same IM program. Which they’re not.The longer users stay on site, the bigger the opportunity it is for advertisers and marketers to capture users’ eyes and clicks. This is why Facebook is worth $300-500 million to Microsoft. Once again, it all comes back to the ads.
I don’t think it’s in the cards, but I’d almost love to see Microsoft buy a 3-5 percent stake in Facebook. They’re just sitting on that ad deal they signed last year, watching it collect dust. Seriously, if you’re going to sign an exclusive ad deal to prevent someone else (e.g. Google) from doing something with the site, then you better be prepared to so something yourself. Lisa’s getting bored with waiting.
You can see some screenshots of Facebook’s forthcoming IM client over at Blognation.