Take Facebook chat to your desktop with Facebook Chat DeskTop

Use Facebook chat outside your browser with this bare-bones client.

When online chatting first became popular, most of us did it using a chat client, such as AOL's Instant Messenger or (if we really want to show our age) ICQ. These days, many people chat using Facebook, and why not? The vast majority of the people you know are probably there, and chat is integrated into Facebook's interface, which you probably have open all the time anyway. If you miss having the option to chat without having your browser open, however, try Facebook Chat DeskTop. This simple program lets you access your Facebook chat buddies from your desktop. It didn't knock our socks off, but it's a viable alternative if you don't always want to be chained to your browser.

Facebook Chat DeskTop has a basic interface that's easy to figure out. We logged in with our Facebook username and password, and the program displayed our Facebook friends in an alphabetical list; online friends were on top, and everyone else was below. The program lacks some of the features common to most chat clients; there are no sound options at all, so you can't depend on an audio alert to let you know when you've sent or received a message. We also weren't crazy about the fact that you have to click the "Send" button to send each message, although you can tab over to it and then press Enter instead of using the mouse. Overall, Facebook Chat DeskTop works, but it's a pretty bare-bones chat client. There are probably other, more sophisticated options available.

Facebook Chat DeskTop installs and uninstalls without issues.

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