Facebook has launched the very first standalone Messenger app for desktop, available now on Windows and macOS.
Audio and video calling via Messenger on a desktop browser has grown 100% in the past month, Facebook reveals in an announcement.
The company quickly responded to the increased demand with the launch of a dedicated desktop app.
Using the Messenger desktop app offers numerous benefits compared to using Messenger on Facebook.com in a web browser.
What is perhaps most valuable to people right now is unlimited and free group video calls.
Facebook also lists these as key highlights of the Messenger desktop app:
- Group video calls: Stay in touch with family and friends on a much larger screen compared to using a smartphone.
- Easy to connect: If you’re connected with someone on Facebook, then you’re connected on Messenger. No need to have a phone number, email, or sign up to a new service.
- Multitasking: It’s easy to have Messenger open in one window while you do other things on your computer. Something that’s not possible on a smartphone.
- Notifications: Notifications are available on desktop, but you can still choose to snooze or mute them if you prefer.
- Chat syncing: Easily switch between devices without losing any of your Messenger history.
- Includes all the same Messenger features you already know: Such as Dark Mode and GIFs.
Messenger for desktop is available to download today from the Microsoft Store and the Mac App Store.
Facebook Messenger vs. Zoom
With the launch of a standalone desktop app that offers group video calling, Facebook Messenger is now in direct completion with Zoom.
Messenger already has Zoom beat when it comes to price – it just doesn’t get better than free.
Zoom does offer a free plan, but it’s very limited.
Here’s where the free version of Zoom falls short compared to Facebook Messenger:
- Zoom’s group calls limited to 100 participants
- Facebook Messenger allows unlimited participants
- Group meetings on Zoom are limited to 40 minutes
- There is no time limit on Facebook Messenger group video calls
- For many people, Zoom is a new service to sign up for
- Billions of people are already on Facebook, nothing new to sign up for
On paper it may sound like Messenger has Zoom beat in every category that counts.
However, there are reasons why people would still prefer Zoom, with one of them being that it’s not Facebook.
People who prefer to maintain a separation between business and personal may welcome the idea of signing up to a new service like Zoom.
Doing so would allow them to keep their business contacts separate from their personal contacts.
Time will tell how people respond to the new capabilities of Facebook Messenger and whether it changes how they use the service.
It will also be interesting to see if Zoom can maintain the meteoric growth its seen as businesses transition to operating remotely.
In the past three months, Zoom’s daily active users have jumped from 10 million to over 200 million.
If Facebook Messenger ends up being used in ways similar to Zoom, we’ll likely see it reflected in Zoom’s user growth over the next few months.