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Facebook Messenger launches a new desktop app

Facebook  Messenger is finally lunched desktop apps. After lunched 100% increase in desktop browser audio and video calling, Messenger today releases its Mac and Windows desktop apps.

They bring the same features as the browser version, but make it easier to keep your chat threads handy than having Messenger buried in one of many tabs.  “We’re all looking for more ways to be together even while we’re physically apart” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg writes

a year ago facebook originally announced the Messenger desktop apps at its F8 conference

Facebook Messenger can only handle up to 8 group video call participants, opposed to 100 or even 500 with Zoom . That means Messenger can’t support some of the new use cases that have emerged since people started to shelter-in-place due to COVID-19. It also doesn’t offer a way to easily share a URL that lets other people join a call, so it’s not useful for public webinars or social events.

Screensharing is the other major missing feature. The inability to show what you’re looking at prevents some business use cases, as well as phone social ones like co-browsing a photo album. Facebook’s Workplace chat desktop apps offer screensharing so it seems reasonable that Messenger could add that option in the future.

Chat apps have gone from a way to stay in touch while apart or arrange meeting up to our only form of human connection for those in lock-down. That means they can no longer be built as complements to our offline lives. They must convey us in full.