Facebook offers, just like Myspace in that regard, the ability to chat on their site. That’s a cool and easy way to keep in touch with your contacts as there is no software to install. However, once you start to chat quite regularly with your Facebook contacts, it becomes easy to forget to logon to facebook the moment you start up your pc.
Let’s introduce Pidgin, the multi-platform and multi-network instant messaging client. I call it multi-platform, as it works on Windows as well as UNIX-based systems such as Linux. Mac OS X support is provided by a separate tool based on the same foundations, called Adium. It supports many networks by using plugins : ICQ, AIM, Google Talk (Jabber XMPP), MSN, Novell Groupwise Chat, Skype and Gadu Gadu (a protocol very popular in Poland), just to name a few of the most used. Pidgin was originally called ‘GAIM’, for Gnu AIM client. Some name disputes with AOL made the developers rename the project to Pidgin.
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Pidgin can be configured to startup when your operating system boots, so you are available for your Facebook contacts the moment your pc has finished its startup cycle. Pidgin has support for a multitude of different networks, and if you install an extra plugin, it’s also possible to get support for Facebook messaging. Under windows, just install the plugin, and you can add your Facebook network contacts like you would add Yahoo! Messenger or MSN or Google contacts.
Next time you start up your computer, your facebook contacts will automatically be able to chat with you even when you haven’t thought about checking on the website what they have been upto. Enjoy!