Facebook launched a Messenger desktop app for Windows and macOS on Thursday, allowing users to text, voice and video chat for free outside of the social media platform’s website.
In a press release, Facebook noted, “Over the past month, we saw more than a 100% increase in people using their desktop browser for audio and video calling on Messenger.”
And while not mentioning the coronavirus pandemic specifically, the release added, “We hope the Messenger desktop app will make it a little bit easier for people to stay in touch with friends and loved ones during this time.”
Facebook and Messenger have both previously stated their collective roles in assisting government health organizations across the globe share information about COVID-19, provide timely resources from institutions like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as fight misinformation about the disease across its platforms.
The Messenger app was previously only available on iOS and Android devices.
Users will be able to sync the new Messenger desktop app with all their devices, set up new-message and call notifications, send GIFs, photos, and videos, as well as access Dark Mode.
WhatsApp, also owned by Facebook, Telegram, Viber, and WeChat all boast similar features for free — some even include standard end-to-end encryption, in-app photo and video editing, and group chats that can go all the way up to 200,000 people.
Messenger has long competed with native chat apps, like Apple’s iMessage and Android Messenger, to be one of the popular, top-performing messaging apps around today by providing personalization and text automation.
One of the main features highlighted in Thursday’s desktop launch is the ability to multitask while using the app: “You can pop in and out of the app while doing other things on your computer” and still be part of the conversation, while also text chatting with others.
The Messenger app can be downloaded from the Microsoft Store or Mac App Store starting Thursday.
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