The web version of Outlook.com will be a lot less chatty soon: Microsoft revealed today that it is removing support for Facebook Chat and Google Chat from its consumer email service. The Google Chat removal makes sense, since Google has dropped support for this functionality. But it’s not clear why they’re removing Facebook Chat support.
But good news, you can still use Skype. Indeed, if you use Outlook.com you can’t get rid of Skype.
“We understand that this may disappoint some of our customers, but we hope that you’ll try Skype for Outlook.com chat, and voice and video calling, so you can take advantage of the more robust ways to keep in touch with friends and family,” a Microsoft email describing the changes notes.
So here’s what’s happening.
Effective immediately, Microsoft no longer supports Google Chat from the Messaging interface in Outlook.com on the web. This is because “of Google’s decision to discontinue the [XMPP] chat protocol used by the Google Talk platform.” However, this change will not impact the Google account you connected with your Outlook.com account, so the contacts interface—called People—will still stay updated with the latest Google contact information.
Starting in “the next couple of weeks,” Microsoft will no longer support Facebook Chat from the Messaging interface in Outlook.com on the web. Microsoft provides absolutely no reason for this change, but I’ve been told that Facebook, too, has deprecated support for the XMPP protocol and will discontinue it after April 30. As with the Google stuff noted above, this change will not impact the Facebook account you connected with your Outlook.com account, so your contacts still stay updated in People.
Mary Jo Foley was able to get the following quote from Microsoft about these changes, though it does nothing to expand on the information in the email.
“Most Outlook.com customers already prefer to use Skype when they are chatting and we see this as a great option for anyone impacted by Google’s decision to shut down Google Talk and associated APIs, or the recent deprecation of Facebook Chat for Outlook.com.”
What I’m most concerned with is that I still can’t disable Skype in the Outlook.com (or OneDrive) web interface. The service does a terrible job of respecting answered calls elsewhere and is constantly bothering me with notifications. Getting rid of Google Chat and Facebook Chat is OK. But they need to get Skype right too. And for many of us, that means the ability to turn it off.