Facebook Messenger for Windows launched, Mac version coming

Facebook Messenger for Windows launched, Mac version coming

Summary: Facebook Messenger for Windows was already released months ago, but now Facebook has launched it officially. The social networking giant has also promised a Facebook Messenger for Mac.


Facebook today officially introduced Facebook Messenger for Windows. "You should be able to stay in touch anytime, no matter what you're doing," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "So today we're introducing Messenger, a new app that brings Facebook to your desktop." The word "Messenger" is a link to facebook.com/about/messenger where you can download the desktop client.

If you're getting a huge feeling of déjà vu, you're not alone: Facebook Messenger for Windows was officially released in December 2011. The client leaked out early and Facebook responded by telling journalists like myself about the Facebook Help Center page detailing the new application, and by releasing an official download link. Here's what I wrote at the time:

Facebook would not confirm the version number with me (update: I figured out it's version 2.0.4373.0), but given that the application updates automatically, I think Menlo Park made a decision to officially release it instead of trying to combat the leak. Smart move.

If you're wondering, the current version is 2.0.4430.0. The application, which requires Windows 7, provides access to three main Facebook features: Facebook Chat, the new Ticker feed, and notifications. Here's how Facebook puts it:

  • Chat while you do other stuff: See and respond to chats right from your desktop. You don't have to click away to stay connected.
  • Get notified instantly: Find out about new comments, photo tags and more as soon as they come in.
  • See what’s going on anytime: Stay up to date with an active stream of posts and activity from your friends. Just click to leave a comment or see more.

So, what does this application require to keep you updated? First and foremost, you must be logged into Facebook. After you click on the blue "Log In" button pictured above, you will redirected to the facebook.com/desktop/login webpage where Facebook explains that Messenger for Windows requires you stay logged in so that it can deliver chat and notification messages to your desktop. This means you will stay logged into Facebook even after you close your browser. To log out of Facebook, you'll need to actually do so from Facebook Messenger for Windows.

In addition to being a standalone application, Facebook Messenger for Windows can be snapped to the side of the screen; that's probably why it only works for Windows 7. Facebook has hinted at a few upcoming features for the Windows flavor already: chatting with multiple friends, video calling, limiting chat availability, and editing settings.

Facebook believes users want to use the social network's real-time features without having to keep a browser window open. The social networking giant is clearly hoping that users will leave Messenger for Windows on throughout the day, probably since most Facebook addicts already do so with a browser tab. In addition to Windows 7, Facebook Messenger is also already available for Android, iPhone, and BlackBerry.

All of this we already knew before. The only real new tidbits today are that Facebook is now asking for your comments on the application over at "Your Feedback: Messenger for Windows." The other bit of new information is that Facebook is "busy working on Messenger for Mac. Stay tuned."

It's not clear if Facebook plans to offer support for anything before Windows 7, but I would wager the company will simply move on towards Windows 8. A Linux client is even less likely, but you never know.

See also:

Topics: Operating Systems, Apple, Hardware, Software, Windows, Social Enterprise

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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  • I don't know what the fuss is about

    ...because you can do that for years with multi protocol apps like Trillian, Pidgin, Disgby, or even Live Messenger
    • I's now branded "Facebook" and plenty don't know about alternatives.

      I's now branded "Facebook" and plenty don't know about alternatives. In the case of MSN Messenger (which has better Facebook Chat integration overall), it has two fatal flaws:

      1. You cannot see Chat history
      2. It doesn't link in with Messages meaning if someone is offline you cannot send them a message and the window even locks up if someone goes offline mid-typing (which is SO annoying, you cannot even copy/paste).
  • Is it possible to disable chat history?

    • Why would you want to do this?

      Why would you want to do this? You cannot at facebook.com. I used it back in December and the history only went back so far anyway, making it not as useful as facebook.com.
  • Where's Facebook Messenger support (i.e - Messages)?

    Where's Facebook Messenger support (i.e - Messages)? Currently this feature just opens facebook.com.

    I'd really much prefer true Outlook integration. It's about time an add-on was created so my Facebook e-mail and contacts are integrated in Outlook.
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  • a better facebook chat cliet

    now that facebook finally released their chat client this is a little obsolete, but i'm sure most readers would agree that my little facebook chat client (http://www.fbcim.com/) is much better (and certainly better looking) then facebook own client ;-)
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