I am not a huge user of Facebook these days but nevertheless I have been taking a look at their newly introduced Facebook Chat because Facebook is the only medium in which I can keep in touch with a couple of long distance friends. But since I don’t like the actual Facebook website that much anymore, I was intrigued to find a Pidgin chat plugin which allows you to integrate Facebook Chat directly into the Pidgin Instant Messenger interface – and for me it works more or less smoothly so far.
I say “more or less” because there are a few start up flaws. When you first install it, it doesn’t import all of your Facebook contacts right away. In fact when I installed the plug-in for the first time, NOTHING HAPPENED!! It was only a hour later that the Facebook contacts slowly began to appear in my contact list and even then it was only a few at a time. I have about 25 people in my Facebook friends list and only 12 are appearing right now in my Pidgin contact list several days later. Why the others are not showing up, I don’t know.
Maybe they (the contacts) have disabled Facebook Chat on their end – Facebook users do have the ability to opt out of the chat feature – or maybe they have to log into Facebook Chat for the first time before the plugin detects them? I don’t know. Either way, not everyone is there on Pidgin yet. But the people that ARE there can talk to me fine and I can talk to them. So the plugin works perfectly in that regard. So I feel I can recommend it to you and say it’s a plugin worth using and a plugin worth watching for the future. It’s clearly still a work in progress so I am confident that any existing bugs will soon be cleared up.
One of the Facebook plugin features that I really like is the ability to update your Facebook profile from inside Pidgin. When you go to the account management section of Pidgin, you will see a “Set Facebook Status” option and when you enter a status, this will automatically send that status to your account on the Facebook site.
The pros of using the plugin are obvious – all of your contacts are in the one place on Pidgin. There’s one less reason to log into Facebook and this in turn saves you time and makes you more productive. Pidgin also logs your conversations as text files which is useful if you want records of your conversations kept.
The cons of the service? Hmmmm…..you don’t get poked by using Pidgin? I guess if you like that sort of thing, using this plugin would be a bit of a bummer for you.
The developer, Eion Robb, has also made a Skype plugin for Pidgin, which I have also tried out and used for quite some time. I highly recommend it as well if you want to move all your Skype contacts onto Pidgin as well.