In another display of how native apps are beating the web, the social networking behemoth Facebook revealed intentions to launch its first native chat client for the Mac. Put simply, it brings Facebook to your desktop and lets you chat with people without logging into Facebook.com in a browser. The company posted Messenger app for iPhone in August 2011 and today released the Facebook Messenger for Windows client, bringing the Facebook Chat functionality to beige boxes.
A Mac version will follow shortly. The Windows client requires Windows 7. Support for Vista is on its way and there are no plans for an XP version, the company said. If you are a daily Facebook user, you will want to integrate this handy program into your daily workflow. True, you can already set up a Facebook Chat account in iChat, as well as Pidgin, Adium, or other IM apps using the industry-standard Jabber protocol. If I were theatrical about this one, I would claim that the arrival of the native Mac client marked an important milestone in our daily productivity.
Bear with me for one more second…
Not only will a Facebook-branded chat client keep you in touch with your friends all day long, it will help manage an information overload known only to people addicted to staring at their real-time Facebook feed. Heck, it does not even have group chat nor Skype video chatting—just pure text adorned with smileys and presence indicator. Friends lists, multi-person chat, and the ability to selectively go online/offline for each friend or list are all planned for future releases. Of course, the app will also let you see the latest updates from friends in ticker and get quick notifications about what is going on, should you choose so.
More information is available at the Facebook Messenger mini-site.
According to The Verge, “A Mac version is on the way, but the company declined to give us a timeframe for that one.” Sounds like Facebook’s Mac client will be the perfect candidate for the new Notifications feature in OS X Lion. Until they produce it, though, I will stick to the awesome MenuTab for Facebook—another could not-live-without-it time consumer that sits in my menu bar.