Review: The new Facebook chat layout and Skype integration

Have you ever liked a Facebook layout change/new feature? Most people dislike changes to Facebook’s layout because they become accustomed to the previous layout that it drives them mad having to learn how the new layout/feature works. Now in this post I’ll go over two recent changes to Facebook: one is a useful/desired feature, and the other, not so much.

As many of you already know, Facebook rolled out two major changes the past month: one being the new Skype-powered video chat (or video call as they like to call it), and the other is the new chat layout. Now you might think that video chat is not a very innovative feature, seeing as Google has had it for years now in their Google Talk app, Gmail chat web app and recently in their Google+ beta project; but for the social networking giant that Facebook is, it’s a very welcome change.

The new Facebook video chat is powered by Skype (though it does not need you to download their software to be able to start a video chat), it’s easy to use, ubiquitous within Facebook (can be accessed from chat windows or friend profiles) and lets you leave a video message if your contact is not online/responding (now this is a feature that other video chat services don’t have, so hats off to Facebook). While this new feature isn’t available everywhere yet, it is supposed to be out soon.

Now some people like to say that no good deed goes unpunished, so that’s where the change in Facebook’s chat layout come chiming in. Zuckerberg’s social networking site now has a chat sidebar that is poorly organized and too space-consuming. The new Facebook chat sidebar is organized placing your contacts that Facebook thinks you talk to the most (AKA, Facebook’s “statistically” weighted way).

What this new organization scheme doesn’t take into account is that it also shows offline contacts in a chat. Yes, you read that right. You might say to yourselves: “Why do I need to see offline contacts in my chat list?” Well, the Zuckerbeast thinks that chat = email, and with the recent introduction of Facebook emails and the integration of chat messages into the Messages section of Facebook, he wants this to be a clusterzuck of information going messily into one place.

Thankfully, there’s somewhat of a fix for this mess in the form of a bookmarklet (drag the link and place it on your bookmarks bar) or a Windows-only permanent, downloadable fix. (Thanks to Gizmodo for the information!)

Note: the bookmarklet fix is not permanent, so you’ll have to click on it for every time you open Facebook in a new browser window/tab, but it’s a decent fix if you use Facebook a lot and don’t like their new chat layout.

So what do you think? Do you like this chat fix? What about the Skype integration? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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  • Jesús M. Sánchez L.

    I thought that the Skype integration on Facebook was going to be awesome. That was my initial idea when Microsoft bought Skype. But after the “Really cool features” released few weeks ago, Facebook seems desperate. I personally think that they are out of “Cool” ideas.

    • Elbano Mibelli

      I agree, Facebook has to look for fresh ideas; they’re getting on the video networking aspect a little late.