[jdev] Facebook XMPP

Sylvain Hellegouarch sh at defuze.org
Thu May 15 03:58:14 CDT 2008

>>> I highly doubt they are dropping their technology, the web based chat
>>> will im sure stay, just like google has the web based gtalk inside of
>>> gmail, they are just adding an XMPP interface to their chat app.
>> If they do, I wonder how sustainable that would be. That would seem like
>> a
>> costly move.
> Why would you say that? Their chat function seems to be scaling plenty
> well enough now so they have already done a lot of the work, and its not
> like they are going to really be able to use any of the already
> available servers as it would take too much work to integrate them into
> their infrastructure, not to mention the fact that I highly doubt any of
> them would be able to scale enough to be able to support the volume of
> users they have, they will do just as google have done and build their
> own, makes perfect sense to me.

I wasn't so afraid about the scaling as much as the duplication of intent.
Granted I've never used their chat feature (I haven't used Facebook in
ages really) but if it does what it says on the box why would you have two
distinct protocols to perform the same job? It seems costly in the sense
that you have to put specific resources for each when you could use them
in a single, non competitive, team.

I guess I'm wondering what is the business case behind that move. I don't
believe one minute it's just a way of embracing open standards. Facebook
seems to have trouble making money so far, or at least they make less than
what they hoped for. So this move is either so that they can attract new
people in and they hope that it'll bring more than their current solution,
in such case they'll have to be as transparent and open as they can with
XMPP (for instance joining existing federations, perhaps making a
partnership with Google/Orkut or openwengo?) or it's just a hype move and
they're doing that to gauge the potential of using Jabber (and the
philosophy behind XMPP) without any real purpose for it yet. In the former
case it wouldn't make sense to keep both their home made protocol and XMPP
on the long run, waste of resources I'd say.

>> That's what I'm afraid of as well. Probably that they will also create
>> their own extensions like Google does. That's always a risk with
>> companies
>> that claim using open standards... well to a certain extent.
> Just have to see what happens, although I highly doubt they are going to
> create a whole load of their own custom extensions without going through
> the XSF as that would be pretty pointless as you wouldnt be able to use
> those features in all the current clients, and I doubt they are going to
> create their own as one of the stated objectives seems to be that you
> can use the XMPP client of your choice.

I'd say they meant for IM purpose. We'll see when they start pushing a
client that offers some of the features you can find on the website
(xmpp:facebook:poke extension anyone? ;)) and work only in their own
client that, oh by the way, displays some advertisement too (I'm being
negative here I know but one may still wonder considering Beacon).

But yeah you're right, at this stage it's all hypothetical anyway. I'm
excited from a developer point of view and yet careful on the way Facebook
will use it business wise. If Facebook was using XMPP to push ads for
instance that would hurt Jabber in people's mind I'm afraid.

- Sylvain

Sylvain Hellegouarch

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