Facebook brings chat everywhere

I just had a rousing conversation on Facebook about penises, and that's not even the good part. The good... even great part, is that this conversation took place in real-time, in relation to a status update. We didn't use Facebook Chat, to talk about a status update;  we talked via comments in the comments area... live. With the addition of in-line updates (new notifications/comments/etc. loading without the page having to reload) and the recent oft-maligned change to the Enter key behaviour, Facebook has turned everything into a chat area. I'll let that digest for a second, if you haven't already realised this. The thing that I'm most impressed by with this, is that neither of these techniques are new. In-line updates via AJAX or other JavaScript methods have been popular for a few years, it's the sauce that powers Gmail amongst almost all other popular web tools. As for the Enter key, when building websites you can choose to "trap" the enter key on whatever you want; that's why sometimes you visit a site, input your login credentials/search terms/whatever and hit enter, only to find that nothing happens. This is due to the site having trapped the Enter key elsewhere, or having not trapped it at all.

So these are old techniques, but by combining them in just this way, Facebook has turned any place where you make a comment (status update, photo, product, ANYTHING) into a live chat area. And that is genius... because while we were having an amusing conversation about penis waving, there was any number of other people on Facebook having a real-time conversation about a company's product. And that conversation is what drives commerce in the new digital economy. Google is to search, as Facebook is to online conversations: not only have they won top spot, but they're successfully defending it with continued innovation.