While Outlook.com is mostly about email, it supports chat as well. You can click on the chat icon while you are on the site to display available contacts and options to initiate an audio or video-call with them.
If you open the interface right now, you should see options to connect to your Facebook friends and Google contacts as well so that you can communicate with these contacts on Outlook.com.
The default option for those who are wondering is Microsoft's own messaging service Skype.
The company just announced in an email that it will discontinue support for Facebook Chat and Google Chat in Outlook.com.
The email, that seems to have only been sent to Outlook.com users who use either Facebook Chat or Google Chat gives no reason for the termination of Facebook Chat on Outlook.com. The reason for the removal of Google Chat is Google's discontinuation of Google Talk (Google switched to Hangouts recently).
Hangouts, unlike Google Talk, doesn't use the XMPP protocol.
Microsoft notes that the change won't impact Google or Facebook contacts added to Outlook.com or a Microsoft account as they will remain available.
The company suggests to use Skype for Outlook.com instead saying that it "provides the best experiencing for chatting and making voice or video calls".
While that is debatable, it is clear that Skype will be the only chat option on Outlook.com in the foreseeable future.
The change is rolled out in the coming weeks to all Outlook.com customers.
Microsoft's decision may impact some Outlook.com users as they may need to switch to other services to chat with select contacts (for instance those who don't want to use Skype).
If you check out how Google (on Gmail) and Facebook handle these things nowadays, you will notice that the new implementation is fairly similar to Google's.
The only chat option provided by Google is Hangouts. Facebook is different as it still seems to support making Skype video calls right from its chat interface. It is however necessary to install a plugin before options become available.
It is interesting to note that the Skype software offers Facebook integration. You can use it to see your news feed or contact Facebook friends directly from within Skype after you have linked Facebook to the software. (via ZDnet)
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