What Are Facebook Chat Heads?

One of the centrepieces of Facebook's new interface are "chat heads", Facebook's vision for the way that we should do messaging. Sounds fun! But what are they, exactly? And will they really change how we communicate?

Chat heads are Facebook Home's chat and messaging interface...

As the Zuck said during today's press conference, phones are all about communication, so it makes sense that Facebook's vision for a social phone centres around a smart new way to communicate. Facebook has already been working in this space with its Messenger app which already allows you integrate your Facebook messages and SMS into a single app. Chat heads are a more evolved version of that vision.

...which integrates messaging more seamlessly into your Android phone's UI...

This is central to Facebook's whole vision for home. No apps. Chat heads are a little piece of your phone's UI, much like the entire Facebook Home experience. Chat heads pop up when you need them and stay out-of-the-way when you don't. You don't need to navigate to something separate or use an app to do your messaging any more.

...by showing you and your contacts as little profile picture dots...

That little notification dot you're used to on your phone's apps will now turn into a fingertip-sized dot revealing part of a contact's profile photo. When you tap the dot it opens up to a more traditional conversation window. When you're done reading and chatting, it collapses down to a dot again.

...that you interact with using fun, playful gestures...

When the dots collapse down, you can move them where ever you want on your screen — much the way you can move a chat window wherever you want it on you computer screen. You can also group your chats together and drag them en masse. When you're done with a specific conversation, a simple throwaway gesture gets rid of it.

...and could make messaging really fun and more useful.

Text messaging, mobile chat, and email on the have created a revolution in communication whereby we basically never have to talk on the phone. But it's an unfinished revolution. It's not as easy and seamless as it could be. Facebook Home's chat heads could be the solution to this problem.

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