Today, in an email to Outlook.com customers, Microsoft announced that it will be discontinuing support for Facebook chat and Google chat service. In the mail, the company mentioned it will be dropping support for Facebook and Google ‘in the coming weeks.’
It is not a surprising move, as both Google and Facebook are moving away from the XMPP chat protocol standard and towards proprietary systems. XMPP is the open-sourced Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol, an IETF standard for instant messaging. Google will be relying on its Hangouts system, which does not currently integrate with third-party clients and Facebook’s 2.0 API does not have support for outside integration either.
Outlook.com’s other integration with the services will remain intact, so users who rely on the social integration in the “People” page to keep their contacts up to date won’t miss out on any data (at least not until the integration with those services change).
“We understand that this may disappoint some of our customers, but we hope that you’ll try Skype for Outlook.com chat, and voice, video calling, so you can take advantage of the more robust ways to keep in touch with friends and family,” the e-mail message from the Outlook.com team said.
In place of the two external chat services, Microsoft is pushing Skype for Outlook.com, which will allow people to message and make calls using Skype from their browser. That’s not much of a surprise wither, since Microsoft announced last month that Skype will be powering messaging across Windows 10.
On the Whole, today’s news is sad indicator of what is to come in the chat world – more reliance on proprietary technology that will silo friends into specific chat ecosystems.