UPDATE: It finally worked… Now I just need to get some friends on it so that I can chat!
A few weeks ago I got curious about a friend I had not seen or heard from in close to a decade. We had gone to primary school together and I had got curious to find them. So naturally I tried searching on facebook, but sadly I did not find the person.
A few weeks later while I sat infront of my PC, my brain leaking after a serious session of churning out code I thought… o what the heck… pulled up facebook, checked the photos section then, thought hmmm what the heck. And I did another search. Interestingly, this time I found my friend, apparently she had joined facebook a few days after my first search. But I was not sure she was the person I was looking for. So I send out a message going like ‘Hey, are you so and so, from primary school. Remember me???’ A day goes by, no response. Then just this week as I am yet again torturing my brain, writing PHP code… Alas! A message… it was indeed my friend! And for all of you who have had this experience, you know the adrenaline rush!
So, I zipped out of ‘the zone’, to dig up this little gem. Sent a message, and soon we were exchanging messages, sent out a friend request and soon we were chatting on facebook.
Now, comes the reason why I give this experience: I was thinking to myself… ‘chatting inside facebook is a little disruptive, I want to surf some other site but I am more or less stuck to this page – bummer!’
Me: Do you have gmail account/google chat?
And that’s how I got curious about having a desktop IM client to chat with my facebook friends. In any case, I dod not keep facebook open all day on my browser, but I would hope to catch up with some specific people when they come online!
So this morning I was wondering about writing such a client. And where do I start?… Google ‘facebook chat client’… and the first result (thank God for Google!) is this article on techcrunch about Social.im A new service where they are offering exactly that… a desktop client to chat with your friends on facebook (damn… someone had already thought of my brilliant killer app idea :) ). Fast forward to http://www.social.im/ And voila… there is a download for Windows and the Mac!
So I downloaded the installer… an easy 1MB download and installed. The installation experience was not bad. It had to download some ‘Support Files’ along the way – screenshots:
After the installation using social.im unfortunately is not working. I get to the login screen but I unfortunately cannot get authenticated into the client. It’s still in alpha so…
A few things to ponder, granted that this is appears to be a potentially great service… Firstly, it’s interesting that social.im does not authenticate you. It passes that burden off to facebook which authenticates you and it would appear that simply getting a list of your friends would be trivial. However, I am curious as to whether they route chats through facebook infrastructure or through their own. I am not sure that the fb platform exposes this. In theory this would then mean I cannot chat with my friends who do not have the client installed in the same manner that I can chat with someone who is chatting within the gmail website from google talk… ???
Kudos to the people at social.im.