Facebook will announce soon on its developer blog that it’s working on a Jabber/XMPP interface for Facebook Chat. The interface will allow users to talk to their Facebook friends using any Jabber-enabled desktop client.
It will also enable Facebook users with such desktop clients to see which of their friends are online, view friends’ profile pictures, and set their status messages. This will all be possible after users authorize their applications to securely connect and communicate with Facebook Chat.
This is a welcome, albeit not terribly surprising, move on Facebook’s part. The company has recently shown a great willingness to open their data up to other applications and web services. And it’s smart for them to stay ahead of the data portability curve, since they’ll be able to maintain more control over just how data flows in and out of their system (it’s bound to happen anyway).