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Facebook Chat so souped up it no longer supports IE6

Good news for bored office workers -- the chat feature that allows you to instantly message your Facebook friends is improved, so you won't be cut off mid-conversation so much.

Facebook is making changes to its much criticised chat feature, which should make those annoying cut-offs in the middle of conversations a thing of the past.

Facebook software engineer Rodrigo Schmidt admitted in a blog post that many people had complained about chat sessions coming and going, or stopping completely.

"We're working hard to end those interruptions so that your experience is stable and consistent," Schmidt wrote. "We've already made progress, and we're taking some more big steps in the coming weeks.

"For example, in the past couple of weeks, we've already made Chat faster and more stable, fixed bugs and improved the technology on which it runs."

But the changes come at a price, as Schmidt said the most important improvements to Facebook Chat came with changes not supported on older browsers, specifically Internet Explorer 6.

This probably won't be a problem to most savvy Web users, but could potentially be an issue if you wanted to chat to somebody forced to use an older browser, such as a backpacker in an Internet cafe in the middle of nowhere, or someone skiving off work at a company whose IT department is stuck in the stone age.

Since the launch of Chat two years ago, it has become very widely used simply due to the convenience of chatting to 500 million people through their Facebook pages. It's also possible to integrate it with other Web-based, desktop or mobile instant-messaging services using a multi-service program such as Jabber or Pidgin.

On a smart phone it can be integrated with an app such as eBuddy. Multi-tasking capabilities and push notifications being commonplace now, you can chat with other online Facebookers on the go, in a way BlackBerry Messenger fans are very familiar with.

Are you looking forward to a better Facebook Chat experience? Or are there better IM options out there for desktop and mobile? Let us know.