Okay look, I’m a bit of a Facebook apologist. When Engadget bandied around the rumor that the big blue social network was releasing a stand-alone client for Windows, I was eager to ditch Windows Live Messenger, the only chat application I’ve even bothered to open for the past decade. Well, ladies and gents, you don’t need it, because it’s not worth your time.
This Facebook Messenger program is actually a very simple setup in that it gives you a quick glance of all your Facebook activity. So let’s go over the pros and cons:
+ Once enabled, it actively replaces the in-browser chat, meaning your chats appear on the Start bar instead of just in a browser tab. UPDATE: Adding the program also allows for really cool cross-window notifications, for when you’re looking at other sites or using other applications. Sadly, clicking on the notifications opens a new tab rather than using the existing Facebook window… should you have one open.
Well, that’s it. Let’s move onto the cons:
– It’s just a chat app. You can’t upload and send attachments or much beyond, y’know, send letters and numbers to people. This alone kills it.
– It has a mode to ‘dock’ next to your browser, but if you already have Facebook open, then it just looks dorky (like the screenshot above). There’s no option to remove the in-window chat bar once you have Messenger enabled, either.
– I have Messenger installed on my phone, so when someone sends me a message, I get a Start bar pop-up, a notification on my Facebook browser tab, and a beep on my phone that doesn’t automatically clear the notification on any of the other clients if I respond on one in particular. I suppose it’s neat that the conversation carries across all clients, but I imagine I’m going to be uninstalling one or two of these here soon.
If you work in an ultra-restrictive office, I can see how this might be useful, but then again, why aren’t you just using the in-browser Facebook chat? They even designed this thing to work without facebook.com, but why?
If you seriously must try this thing out, you can download it here, but remember: I warned you.