Responses ranged from the affirmative such as "Taking conversations private is a great way to further a business relationship" to the complete opposite "Please do NOT add another lame messaging service like the one that Facebook and Twitter have" with some people suggesting a solution where XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) could be employed to hook FriendFeed up to Google Talk.
It is obvious from the divide in opinion that some kind of compromise is needed so I suggested that it might be an idea to use what's already there instead of reinventing the wheel.
It can be useful to take certain discussions private but it is understandable that people do not want yet another inbox that they need to check. It would, therefore, make more sense to have some kind of ad-hoc system that exists for the duration of the conversation. FriendFeed has its rooms so it seems logical to me to create a temporary, private room on the fly which is destroyed once you are finished.
You would, of course, need some form of online presence system in place (there's no point trying to start a conversation with someone who isn't around) and if the person you wish to chat with is not online then - just like instant messaging applications - you could be given the options to fire off an email.
Not everyone on FriendFeed uses (or would even want to use) something like Google Talk so why force a third party solution on to them. It is better to keep things in house if possible - one less thing to worry about. An ad-hoc system you only use if you want to keeps everyone happy; those who do not want private messaging on FriendFeed don't use it - simple.
What do you think?
Is this a suitable compromise? Would it work for you?