In an attempt to further Facebook’s “social discovery” aspect, the company has reportedly rolled out a new chatroom feature to a select few users.
The chatrooms are reportedly reminiscent of the AOL chatrooms of old, with rooms promoting discussions with people you’ve never met. Anyone can create a chatroom at any time by clicking a “host chat” option by their status bar. After that, they can create a name/topic for the room and invite any of their friends to join as well. The difference now, however, is that your friends don’t require an invite to join, they can simply see that you started a chatroom in their news feed and can choose to hop right in. This will result in your friends starting to meet and talk to your other friends that they hadn’t previously known. It’s still unclear as to whether friends of friends will be able to then join the room as well, essentially creating a mass viral chain.
All of this, however, is still up in the air as to whether it will actually see the light of day. Facebook may still decide to scrap the feature, or drastically alter it, before giving it a widespread release.
One of Facebook’s goals with its previously released graph search feature was to further promote friend finding on the site and “social discovery.” This seems like it would be an extension of that philosophy, and a much more effective one at that.
I’m personally curious about the idea and hope that chatrooms do see the light of day. Chat is pretty much all I use Facebook for nowadays anyway.