Chit Chat for Facebook 1.3 enables you to easily send instant messages to your Facebook friends - and without even opening a web browser.

Instant Messaging has been part of Facebook since 2008 and while it’s great being able to talk to your friends there in real-time, its fair to say Facebook Chat hasn’t been without it problems.

Many users, ourselves included, have had gripes with the service, in particularly with occasional browser window freezes when messages appear.

However, this is where Chit Chat for Facebook comes in. The free instant-messenger program runs on a Windows PC and allows you to chat to friends without having to log-in to Facebook using your usual browser. But is it a helpful add-on, or simply another download to clutter up your PC?

It’s certainly easy to download and install. Once on your computer, the Chit Chat for Facebook software places an MSN Messenger-style window on your desktop. Use your Facebook log-in credentials to sign-in and in the same window you’ll be given a list of all your Facebook friends, those online displayed first, with a green dot next to their name, and those offline below, with a red indicator.

To chat with any of your friends currently online, simply double-click their name in Chit Chat for Facebook and a chat window will appear. Then start typing. We found conversation flowed smoothly, with no screen freezing or delays. You can also add bold or underline formatting to your conversation text, as well as emoticons.

You’ll be notified when a friend sends you an instant message by the Chit Chat for Facebook app's taskbar icon flashing. Unlike MSN and other instant-messaging programs, there’s no audio alert.

It’s easy to chat to several friends at once. Rather than opening a new window for each conversation, if you double-click on another friend’s name during a conversation, you’ll be presented with a new tab with that friend’s name in the same window. Simply click tabs to switch between conversations.

We love the ability to click on any of your friend’s names, even those that are offline, and post a message on their Facebook wall or send them a private message through Facebook, using the options at the bottom of the Chit Chat for Facebook window - all without having to log-in to the social network via your web browser.

The software also offers pop-up alerts in the corner on your screen when friends go on or offline. Your Facebook friends will see you on their chat screens but with an ‘idle’ icon next to you.

When you log back into Facebook, perhaps from another computer, your conversation is displayed in the right-hand corner, meaning you can carry on chatting if your friend is still online.

Our only gripe is that the Chit Chat for Facebook software displays your friends as either on or offline – there’s no ‘Idle’ option in Chit Chat for Facebook.

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Chit Chat for Facebook 1.3: Specs

  • Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7
  • Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7

OUR VERDICT

If you’re a regular user of Facebook Chat then Chit Chat for Facebook is certainly a helpful add-on to the social network’s instant-messaging service. It improves the flow of conversation and ensures you don’t need to be logged in to chat to friends. Available for free, it’s great value too.

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