Facebook is testing a new way to let users know which of their friends are online and available for chat.
We’ve seen some version of this indicator all over the place for years, but the newest home for Facebook’s green dot indicator seems to be directly in the news feed. Appearing right next to the users’ name inside a news feed story, Facebook’s green dot lets users know that the person is online and ready for messaging. Here’s what it looks like:
We spotted this test on an account that has the new news feed, and were unable to find a similar icon inside the mobile news feed. I’ve reached out to Facebook for comment and will update when I hear back.
UPDATE: Facebook confirms that they are running a limited test to put “presence dots” in the news feed. For now, that test is only for desktop.
You may recognize that little green dot from Facebook’s chat sidebar on both desktop and mobile. There, the green dot for availability is accompanied by a mobile device icon that signifies that the user has Facebook for iOS or Android downloaded, so they have the ability to see messages on their phones.
Way back in 2011, Facebook added the chat indicator next to users’ names on their profiles (the old profiles, way before Timeline).