Facebook Adding Privacy Features, Built-In Chat

Here’s one company that won’t be buying Meebo at $250 million or any other valuation. Facebook is developing its own chat software, which will go live in a few weeks.

Facebook already has plenty of third-party chat applications, but users had to install them on their own. And most piggy-back on outside services, like AIM. But Facebook’s built-in chat app will let users to talk to anyone they know on the site. This makes sense: If it takes off, it’s one more way for Facebook to get people on the site for longer — and more frequent — visits.

Will Facebook’s chat system be able to hook into other services or apps, the way AOL’s (TWX) AIM or Google’s (GOOG) GChat do? VentureBeat says that company it is still considering whether to partner up.

Facebook will also add some new privacy features, like sorting how much of your profile and info gets shared with the rest of the world — a feature the site’s users have been clamoring for since Facebook expanded beyond universities more than a year ago.

In December, the site began letting users sort their friends into categories (family, co-workers, etc.), but didn’t allow them to do anything beyond that. Starting tonight, you’ll be able to show your classmates your Spring Break photos, but not your boss. (Or vice versa, if you’re so inclined.)

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