Facebook Chat is one of the social-networking site's most popular and widely used features. Chat's streamlined functionality has been a significant factor in keeping users on Facebook for longer periods of time and merging usage from older chat and instant-messaging programs into one place. Unlike other chat applications that allow you to insert pictures directly into the chat window, however, Facebook's Chat feature is primarily limited to text-based conversations.
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Facebook Chat does not allow users to directly embed images into the chat window. Users may paste and share links to Facebook photos and other off-site images, but these will merely appear as links, highlighted with blue text. The only images that appear in the chat window are small thumbnails of you and your friend to indicate who has entered a message.
The same limits apply to Facebook Chat for groups. Users can share links to photos and other images with one another, but the images themselves cannot be inserted into the chat window. The images that appear at the top of the group chat window are the thumbnails of all of the group members who are currently online and active.
Facebook Chat is integrated with Facebook's messaging, compiling all of your exchanges with each individual friend in separate threads. if you use the Inbox menu to send a message, you can insert image thumbnails by pasting a direct link to an image or clicking the paper clip icon to attach an image. These images do not appear in the chat window, but your friend will see the thumbnail if he uses the Inbox menu to check the message.
Other Image Chat Alternatives
Several other chat programs and services have the capability to directly insert images into a chat window. AOL Instant Messenger has this feature enabled for even much older versions of the program. For users who prefer an in-browser chat service, the Google Chat function in Gmail uses a similar method to embed direct image links as thumbnails; however, Google Chat automatically includes these thumbnails in the chat window (as well as small embedded versions of any direct YouTube links shared in the chat).