Personally speaking, I am not a big Facebook fan, but there are millions upon millions of people all over the globe who can’t go a day without logging into the world’s largest social network and checking out what kind of sandwich their old school friend had for lunch, or poking their best friend in an act of online bullying. Although already wildly popular, the whole Facebook experience may be a distinctly better one for a large portion of users if they didn’t need to be constantly signed into the web service with a browser running all the time.
In a technology driven world that is being overrun by all kinds of apps on various platforms, it seems that the Facebook team has cottoned on to the fact that user engagement might increase if they could use some of the more core Facebook services from within a dedicated desktop client. With that in mind, we are officially seeing the launch of Facebook Messenger for Windows Desktop Chat Client, although a number of you might already be using the client due to its leak back in December. Some of you may remember in December when an Israel-based blogger was given access to the Facebook Chat test group and trusted with an unprotected link to download the software. Rightly or wrongly, he quickly made the link public, given early access to the software to anyone who wanted it.
On the back of the leak, Facebook decided to make the link publicly available via official means through their help center, but didn’t exactly make song and dance about the client’s existence. That is all changing today with the company officially launching the chat client, which features nothing more than bug fixes and some fine-tuning over the leaked version. The client is available now for the Windows 7 operating system, and will be coming soon to Mac OS X, featuring the ability to receive and view notifications, read the news feed and send and receive chat messages without the need for web a browser being open, all the time.
Perhaps a somewhat unknown fact about the company is the existence of their Gatekeeper infrastructure which allows Facebook to test new features and products out on users without their knowledge. It is often the case that engineers behind the scenes can turn functionality on and off at will, granting or denying users access to new features without them actually knowing that they are testing something new. Whether or not this method of using registered members as guinea pigs is the right way to go about gathering usage data is entirely a different story.
TechCrunch have noted a couple of ways that they believe the chat client will help Facebook:
- Persistent access to Chat will increase engagement of the primary user, and also draw their friends to spend more time on Facebook
- Persistent access to notifications, messages, and friend requests that launch Facebook.com may lead to more return visits than users haphazardly stopping by the website to check for these alerts.
With users already spending a record breaking amount of time on Facebook, the creation and release of dedicated chat clients which allow the use of core features will no doubt go some way to increasing that active time.
You can download Facebook Messenger for Windows by heading over to this link.
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