Confirming various leaks and rumours on the cyber space Facebook has released a chat application for the Windows desktop: Messenger. Adding to various chat applications already present in multitude of mobile platforms, Windows Desktop app is the latest one to arrive.
The chat application essentially replicates the side bar of the Facebook site right on your desktop. This is a late but good move by Facebook because there was a dearth of good chat apps which did something beyond basic support for chatting using Jabber Protocol. Many of the available apps were malware at best and were of little to no use. Facebook, we feel was tad late releasing this app for Windows but never the less it is really welcome.
Facebook have kept the installation very straightforward. The app is only around 400 KB so you should be good to go in minutes. Messenger is currently exclusive to Windows 7 only with the Vista version being in development. Facebook has stated that they will not support XP as of now.
Download: Facebook Messenger for Windows [484 KB]
The Barebones Features
Facebook this time has made a really no frills app which does exactly what it should have been doing. Nothing more nothing less. Messenger currently offers a quick view of your notifications, friend requests and messages along with chat.
Chat Interface Straight from the browser
Messenger brings the complete Facebook chat system with ticker to your desktop straightaway. Just like any good chat application, it sits unobtrusively in your system tray.
You can dock the Messenger to the right exactly the same way as it is on Facebook. Sadly there is no way to actually turn off the Ticker, which was implemented in Facebook for few select browsers. But hey, you can resize the border to eliminate the Ticker anyway.
The chat windows are neatly tabbed as well, as you can see in the screenshot. Really disappointing is the omission of many features offered in the browsers like Video Call via Skype or Group Chat
Notifications and Messages right from the Desktop
This was craved from a long time by many Facebook users. The chat application neatly unifies your messages and notifications. Very useful if you are in the middle of work and not willing to open your browser all over again.
One really impressive feature we found was the desktop notifications at the lower right hand corner of the screen which is definitely cool for Facebook junkies.
The Ridiculous Missing Bits
While Facebook filled a certain void on the Desktops by releasing this app, Messenger simply leaves a whole lot to desired. A plethora of No’s you can see below
- No Video Calling : This would have easily made the app killer. Facebook could have been little more merciful for its Desktop users.
- No Customization at all : Even for the crappiest chat application, there are atleast few customization options at the very least. There is NO customisation AT ALL in the Messenger. I guess the developers where either living in caves or did not ever used GTalk or Yahoo Messenger ever.
- Heavily Browser Dependent : You have to open the browser for checking out every notification, ticker update or even to reply offline messages. This funnily makes the entire app pretty much pointless.
On A Concluding Note
We would be so much kinder if the app was just tagged “Beta”. While the severe lack of many features are really annoying, you can not still help but install the app because. We really expect the app to catch up and implement the missing features soon.