Today Valve has made available an open beta for a completely overhauled set of Steam Chat features. The all-new friends list and chat system makes it easier to group up with the people you chat and play games with.
Friends List updates
The friends list now has a customizable favorites section at the top, for quick access to the people, groups, and chats you care about most. You’ll also see in-game friends at the top of your list, grouped together by game or even by party, making it easier to join in, or just to see which games are popular among friends.
The friends list now has a dedicated area for group chats, which can range from casual chats with a couple of friends to larger communities. Starting a group chat is as simple as dragging an additional friend onto a chat window. You can also save your group chats with a name and avatar, making it easier to come back to them later to pick up the conversation or to play games with those same friends.
Within a group chat you have the option to add additional text channels, voice channels, member permissions. Plus, all chats now display images, videos, tweets, and links inline in a rich, beautiful way.
The entire voice chat system has been rebuilt, to ensure a more seamless experience when playing games on Steam with friends. It’s now one click to start a voice chat and organize your group pre-game.
This update includes many more items of note, including: invisible mode, so you can appear offline, but still access your friends list and chats. And adding friends is easier now with custom friend-request links you can email or send outside of Steam.
Join the beta
If you’d like to participate in the beta and give your feedback you can check out the announcement page to see how.