Facebook launches Messenger for web browsers
Social networking giant, Facebook, has launched a dedicated website for its chat service, Messenger.
This isn’t the first time the company has taken steps to break Messenger away from the Facebook website.
Android, iOS, and Windows Phone platforms already have a Messenger app. In fact, you cannot use the regular Facebook on those platforms to IM with your friends. This wasn’t taken lightly by users, as many voiced their concerns saying the Facebook app itself is poorly coded, and drains the battery quickly, and it only got worse with the additional app.
A few months ago, it launched a similar website for the popular IM app Whatsapp, which Facebook acquired in 2014 for a whopping $19 Billion. WhatsApp Web allows the app’s users to chat directly from the web browsers, as long as the user has the phone registered to use the service, nearby. WhatsApp Web basically mirrors the app to the web interface.
Now, the move to launch a website for Messenger, signifies the company’s intent to transform the service into a separate platform. The company is preparing the way for Messenger for Business, which was announced at the F8 Developer Conference last month. The new service will allow customers to chat directly with companies about queries related to the products, shipment tracking, and more.
Head over to Messenger.com to give it a try. You will need to sign in with your Facebook credentials to use the service. If you are already logged in to Facebook.com, Messenger will recognize it and offer you to continue with the same user id.
The interface as you may notice is in full screen, as opposed to the tiny popu-up window on Facebook.com. The UI of Messenger is beautiful, yet devoid of any clutter. All your current chats (conversations) are available right away.
There aren’t many bells and whistles on the website, here is a screenshot of the available buttons, and a description of what they do.
The Gear button on the top left corner brings up the settings menu, from where you can toggle sounds/desktop notifications. A button for a blocking feature is available, yet reads “Manage on Facebook”. This will probably allow you to block or unblock users, and could to be available in the future.
The word Messenger sits between the gear icon and the compose button, which can be found on top of the conversation list. Click on it to start a new chat.
The top right corner houses more buttons: Clicking on the + sign allows you to send messages t o more people, while the dialer button lets you make phone calls, and the video button for video calls. The information icon in the far right, displays the contact’s last seen status, allows you to mute notifications from the contact, and a link to their Facebook profile.
You can still use the regular Facebook website to chat with your friends, at least until the company decides to disable the feature, in a bid to get people to use Messenger.
Note: It appears that Messenger on the web is available only in English for now, support for more languages is expected to be rolled out soon.