Remember Chat Rooms? It was one of the most popular public/private chatting formats in late 90s and perhaps till early 2000. With the advent of Google's Gtalk (now Hangout) and Facebook, these Chat Rooms, however, became passé. Well, Facebook is reportedly borrowing the format for its messaging/chatting platform to increase users engagement and take on other small yet highly popular instant messaging/chatting applications such as WhatsApp and Viber.
TechCrunch last week reported Facebook is testing out a chat room product, codenamed Host Chat, to 'stimulate' viral discussions among friends, allowing them to add their friends into the chat rooms - reminiscent of the old AOL chat rooms. The site claims the Chat Rooms could be promoted in News Feed. Currently, Facebook's Chat Room supports only texts and is said to be a grander version of Facebook's group chat functionality.
Amid growing competition from the likes of Apple's iMessage, Google's new unified messaging system Hangouts, cross-platform messaging services like WhatsApp and Viber, Chat rooms could help Facebook gain an advantage over the rivals.
Chat Rooms could see more users engagements as compared to the current group chat or one on one chat formats. With addition of multi-media functionalities and special emphasis on mobile users, Facebook's chatting/messaging service could become more dynamic.
Facebook, however, has made various efforts to improve in the messaging segment. It has already launched Facebook Messenger, a cross-platform messaging service. Facebook recently added stickers and Like button to the Messenger and is said to be testing VoIP calling in Canada. It is also partnering with local carriers (Airtel and RCom in India) to increase the popularity of its Messenger service.