1) there is a growing network of people working on a #public federated chat network based on XMPP. There has been a lot of activity in the space in recent years. This activity is partly due to the development sprints, many of which last year have been organized by @pep
2) a bunch of new (and existing) clients continue working on usability (cross platform, consistent UIs, support for mobile, end-to-end encryption). Particularly web clients such as ConverseJS by @jcbrand are promising.
3) A directory to search public discussion channels exists: https://search.jabbercat.org/rooms/1
4) Ongoing experimentation with what can be built on top of XMPP as a federated protocol by for example @Goffi
5) Conversations for Android has secured funding to implement a Voice / Video calls!
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