Facebook testing Messenger for Windows desktop client

Facebook testing Messenger for Windows desktop client

Summary: Facebook has started testing a Messenger for Windows desktop client. Windows 7 is the only version of Microsoft's operating system that is supported; there is no news yet for Mac and Linux users.


Facebook has started testing a Facebook Messenger for Windows desktop client with a limited group of users, currently in beta. The application, which requires Windows 7, provides access to three main Facebook features: Facebook Chat, the new Ticker feed, and notifications. I would argue that video calling will be added soon.

Here's Facebook official description of the new software (typo corrected):

Messenger for Windows is a new, trial application that lets you use Facebook without being on www.facebook.com. While you surf the web or use other applications on your computer, you can:

  • Chat and message with your friends on Facebook
  • See the latest updates from your friends in ticker
  • Get quick notifications about what's going on

We're testing out a first version of the app with a small group of people. During this trial period, we plan on rolling out changes to the app and expect outages and periods of instability as we make improvements. Note: Messenger for Windows will automatically install updates.

Facebook is looking to gauge whether users are interested in using the social network's real-time features without having to keep a browser window open. The social networking giant is confident enough that it already plans to release a final version: "If you're not in the test group, you'll be able to get the app once we roll it out to everyone."

Facebook is clearly hoping that users will leave Messenger for Windows on throughout the day, probably since most Facebook addicts already do so with their browser. Still, the advantage of a desktop client is that it can use the operating system's notification system to alert the user: a browser can't do that, especially if you have Facebook open in an inactive tab.

Users who can get the new beta client are being randomly selected to join the tester group; they are being notified via home page prompts (there is no public download link), according to TechCrunch. The application was developed entirely by Facebook and does not constitute a new partnership with Microsoft, which is a big investor in Facebook.

Speaking of Microsoft, the software giant's Facebook-integrated Windows Live Messenger desktop client already lets you use Facebook Chat to communicate with your Facebook friends. It is currently the top app on the Facebook Platform when it comes to daily active users (18.2 million), and also has 21.5 million monthly active users, according to AppData.

It's not clear if Facebook will offer support for anything before Windows 7, or if it will simply move on towards Windows 8. Clients for Mac and Linux will likely only be released if the Windows 7 version proves very popular.

See also:

Topics: Operating Systems, 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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  • Just what admins need to fight with...

    Another messenger. Honestly just download Trillian, it plugs into every service out there.
    • RE: Facebook testing Messenger for Windows desktop client


      Including Facebook!

      Yeah, been using Trillian, it's really the only way anymore to use all of the IM services out there without having dozens of clients installed.
  • Oh goody!

    More useless chat software to go.
  • RE: Facebook testing Messenger for Windows desktop client

    Im fine with Windows Live .... who needs a zillion instant messaging appz anyway ?
  • OT: In other MS news

    MS long ago conceded the web server market to Apache. It would be generous to say the fought a good fight (more accurately threw a lot of wasted money at it).<br><br>Today they're close to being eclipsed by another open source HTTP server (nginx):<br><br><a href="http://survey.netcraft.com/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://survey.netcraft.com/</a><br><br>"November 2011 Web Server Survey<br><br>In terms of active sites, Microsoft was the only major web server vendor to show a loss. Conversely, nginx made the largest gain, rising by 0.86 million active sites and bringing it to within 0.66 percentage points of Microsoft's market share."<br><br>Oh how they've fallen;-)
    Richard Flude
    • RE: Facebook testing Messenger for Windows desktop client

      @Richard Flude

      Netcraft still hasn't fixed the M$ uptime hijacking?