Facebook Instant Messaging Service could spell trouble

Facebook is preparing to launch its own Instant messaging service, which incidentally is going to compete with independent IM apps out on the market.

The fact that it will be integrated within the browser (à la Meebo) could make it more difficult to police unless administrators decide to block the site altogether.

Sources say that Facebook IM will be based on the Open Source IM platform Jabber and will only be opened for Facebook users.

Jabber is also used in Google's own IM, GTalk, which means Facebook could potentially open Facebook IM to Google Talk users as well, although Microsoft has an instant messenger deal.

This also means that Facebook could also allow its users to communiciate by voice with other Facebook users, something that Myspace has already put in place, thanks to a partnership with Skype.

The IM service will also be integrated with the Facebook's own email service though further details are a bit sketchy.

In related Facebook news, the service provider has beefed up privacy controls which allows the user to control who amongst his or her Facebook acquaintances, can view what information.

Both announcements came a few days after AOL announced that it had acquired Social Networking website Bebo for £425 million.