An app that runs Facebook's instant messenger on a PC
Windows 8.1 / Windows 8 / Windows 7 / Windows Vista
Messenger for Desktop lets you stay connected with everyone on your friends list and send messages through Facebook without loading the official site. Facebook offers a few different apps and lets you check and send messages through an app designed for use on a smartphone or tablet. Messenger for Desktop serves as an alternative to those other apps.
Facebook separated its mobile app into two different components. One is an app that lets you post status updates, play games, and like pages. The other app is Facebook Messenger, which lets you access the contacts on your friends list and send them messages. If you want to send messages without loading the full page, you can save time with this app.
With Messenger for Desktop, you simply log into your account with the email address and password you registered with the official site. You then have complete access to the messaging system from your desktop. The app requires that you have a constant internet connection though. If you lose your signal or do not have a signal, you cannot use the app. As it looks just like the official chat client, there is no learning curve associated with the app. You can load it, log in, and start chatting in seconds.
The settings feature gives you more control over how you use the app and lets you make changes to your messaging settings without visiting Facebook first. The very first line under the settings option shows the current account signed in, which is helpful for those who share computers. It even uses a smaller version of your profile picture. Clicking on the sounds button lets you turn the sound on and off.
This app also gives you access to both blocking and notification features. With the notification features, you decide how you want the app to tell you about new messages. You can opt for a pop-up notification, a sound, or another alert. It also lets you block others from contacting you and shows you those on your blocked list. If someone sends you threatening or even harassing messages, you can block that individual from ever contacting you again.
The official Facebook messaging window, which you can use on the website, comes with a very small window. This tiny window makes it harder to see what you type, which can lead to errors or misspellings. That window also makes managing multiple conversations harder. Messenger for Desktop expands the size of this window to make chatting with one or more people more convenient. This is an unofficial product though, which means that you will not get any support from Facebook itself.
Despite being an unofficial release, Messenger for Desktop comes with some great features like the ability to change the size of its chat window. Using a full-screen version of that window helps you easily view each message that comes through. You can minimize the window or significantly reduce its overall size when chatting with friends at work. Changing the size of the window helps keep your conversations private.
As with the official app that you can use on your phone, Messenger for Desktop comes with features like group settings and an active users list. The active users list shows you all the people from your friends list who are currently active and signed into Facebook. This lets you know who will automatically receive your messages and which friends may not get your messages for a few hours. You also have full access to your contacts list and can send a message to anyone on that list.
Messenger for Desktop also gives you access to the most recent messages you received. Not only can you see who sent the message, but you can view the date and time that it arrived. The app gives you a sample preview that shows you the first line of the message too, which is helpful when you need to find a specific response. You can click on any of those messages and send back a response too.
This simple app is helpful for both live conversations and standard messages. If you select a user currently online, you can have a conversation in real time without reaching for your phone first. The app shows you when that person is typing a message and then gives you instant access to that message. If you send a message to an offline user, you can check back to see when that individual read the message and find out instantly when you get a response.
You also have access to group settings. This gives you the option of creating groups and sending messages to all users in a specific group at the same time. You can create groups of those you work with or your classmates. If you ever need to edit those groups to take users out or add more contacts, you can make those changes via the app.
While there are similar messaging apps out there that use Facebook, most of those apps require that you visit the Facebook page, log in and use the app in an open browser window. Messenger for Desktop is one of the only apps that will let you access all features of Facebook Messenger without loading the site first. With this app, you can now stay connected and view all conversations in an adjustable window on your desktop.
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