The new Steam chat revamps how your friends list is organized, with a customizable "favorites" section up top followed by friends grouped up in a party or by which game they're now playing.
The chat platform lets you compile a friends list (with features like favorites and group chats) and shows what game everyone is playing. Rich presence has arrived as well, where users will now display their current in-game status such as the game mode or if they are currently matchmaking. 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.
In-line images, video, tweets, audio, and other media can now be shared in the chat client, and you'll be able to share trade offer links as well. These groups can be made permanent by saving them with a custom name and thumbnail.
"As a result, voice chat uses high quality Opus encoding, voice traffic is encrypted, and all traffic is sent through Steam servers rather than directly to peers", it explained.
The new features are only available for those in the beta. It's not clear if this means other Valve titles won't be available in the region yet, or what that means for the wider library of games on Steam, but it seems likely that in time many of them will be released there. The option to opt-in into this beta can be found in the Steam account settings.