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Trillian adds Facebook, IRC support to Astra

Chat application Trillian is getting some new and upcoming protocols, making it one of the most diverse instant-messaging applications on the market.

My favorite IM application, Trillian, has just put out a brand new build of its upcoming Astra product for alpha testers. New are Facebook notifications and quick shortcuts to jump straight to things like photo galleries and user profiles. Sorely missing from that, however, is Facebook's chat, which is what I think many Trillian users have been pining for (myself included). Free competitor Digsby has had Facebook chat integration since the beginning of May, shortly after the service was launched.

Scott Werndorfer, co-founder and head developer of Trillian, tells me his team is waiting on proper XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) integration with Facebook chat to be finished, something that might be announced at next week's F8 event after originally being promised in mid-May. Until then developers have had to cobble together their own solutions that require the use of your browser--something nobody wants to deal with with their desktop chat application.

The good news is that the new build brings with it support for IRC--the chat medium that has proven to be invaluable for things like live blogging and customer care chat in enterprise businesses. Trillian has full support for administrative controls and server surfing. You can also encrypt the contents of your chat room in case you're sharing personal or business information--something AIM and many others don't provide.

Trillian Astra is currently in private alpha, meaning you'll have to sign up to be a tester to give it a spin. You can find the sign-up page here.

Facebook chat and IRC join Trillian as supported chat protocols. CNET Networks