Facebook chat became available to Windows Live Messenger 2011 beta refresh users a little over 3 weeks ago, and we’ve seen the number of users connecting Facebook to Messenger growing stronger than ever (over 8 million active users now!). While Facebook chat works great on the Messenger client on your PC, the web-based version of Messenger (in all Windows Live online services’ headers) still doesn’t support conversations with Facebook chat as of yet. Today, we discovered on the upcoming Windows Phone Live website (http://windowsphone.live.com) that Facebook chat integration with Web Messenger is now working! Here’s a screenshot of it in action:
As seen in the screenshot above, there is now a “Facebook” category in your Messenger contact list, and of course, it will only show up if you have connected Facebook to Messenger and enabled Facebook chat. Clicking on any online Facebook contact will allow you to send instant messages directly with them, and in the conversation window, it’ll display the words “Chatting via Facebook”, with the option of switching to “via Windows Live” or “via text message” if those options are available. You can also sign out of Facebook chat by clicking on “Facebook chat” under the menu in the top-right corner.
The new version of the Wave 4 header on this website also sports some minor new enhancements. As seen above, the small drop-down arrow makes a return next to your display name on the top-right corner, possibly due to user feedback of not knowing the existence of a menu up there. In addition, there’s a new “Privacy settings” option which directs you to the http://profile.live.com/Privacy page, exposing the option to more users. There’s now also a “Sign out of Messenger” option directly under the Messenger menu, allowing users who prefer not to be signed in to Messenger in their browser to easily switch it off.
The header also exposed the existence of a (possible) new Windows Live mobile portal to be part of Windows Live Devices, located at https://devices.live.com/Devices/Mobile. This link currently takes you to a page not found error, but we expect that something will come up in this space closer to the Windows Phone 7 launch. So stay tuned!
Update: It seems like the header on http://explore.live.com has also been updated to enable Facebook chat integration, despite missing the Messenger menu in the header.