App Review: ChitChat For Facebook
Chat applications abound for different users in diverse platforms. One key direction in surviving the glut is to specialize. Chit Chat for Facebook takes up the slack in Facebook’s poor showing on the chat arena. Athena IT Limited developed the standalone and the browser versions for Facebook messaging and chatting.
The standalone version requires a download and installation of the instant messaging (IM)-type app. My download got snagged by the adware (ADW_KRADARE) warning delivered by Trend Micro. I chose to discontinue the download and opted for the browser version of Chit Chat.
Off the bat, I did not like the permissions Chit Chat (browser version) wanted from me: Access My Data Any Time? No thanks. I recently wrote about the need to check what types of permissions you should allow apps to have on your system. If you see an app that has been flagged as an adware “carrier”, you don’t want this app poking around in your folders. You won’t like apps like these accessing your friends’ contact info as well.
Facebook developers explained “anytime data access” as a short-term permissions token that
Enables application(s) to perform authorized requests on behalf of the user at any time. By default, most access tokens expire after a short time period to ensure applications only make requests on behalf of the user when the are actively using the application.
The expiry of the token still depends on the app developer’s instructions though.
I closed all the permissions Chit Chat required, clicked Skip, and was pleasantly surprised to see Chit Chat browser open. The UI looked ok. Bare, but functional. I didn’t care for the color scheme, but then again, it’s a free app. Since I didn’t allow Chit Chat to access my (and my friends’) contact info, everyone was offline. I closed the window and tried again — this time allowing access to me and my friends’ contact info (I chose not to give permission for access to my news feeds and to my data), and played round with the app. Everything worked well, albeit slowly.
If you are frustrated with Facebook’s buggy chat app, Chit Chat is a good alternative. But it’s not the only one out there, and it pays to do your research before you download and install any free application.
For a dedicated Facebook chat app, Chit Chat is OK. But a lot of tried and tested IM apps (YM, AIM, MSN) already have FB cross-functionality.
The tabbed chat interface is a nice departure from regular IM chat windows. Many users find the multi-posting on friends’ walls very convenient. The standalone version frees you up from the browser.
The user interface could be improved with simple color changes (tone down the blues and oranges), removing shadows on fonts. The performance could use some tweaking, choosing to go offline was a chore because of slow app response.
The poor UI and slow response would be enough to put me off this app, but the apparent disregard for security and reputation makes Chit Chat lose my vote.
In a review on 4 December 2010, Brian Yang pointed out that on installing the standalone Chit Chat client, he encountered two adware apps disguised as a free browser plugin and a terms of service statement. Yang still gave a 4/5 star review for Chit Chat though. More than a year after Yang’s review, Chit Chat is still at it, opening your doors to the world of adware and who knows what else. We all have to make a living, but come on…
I guess die-hard FB chatters would find this app useful, but in this age of multi-app integration, Chit Chat just doesn’t cut it for me.