Facebook releases Messenger app for Windows

If you're running Windows 7 and trust Mark Zuckerberg to keep your social life cataloged, unwelcome messages from relatives and distant acquaintances can now be received without the need for a pesky web browser, all thanks to the new Facebook Messenger app.

Available through Facebook's help center, the freshly released app has the same spartan feel as Google Chrome and the same user-interface widgets as the Facebook website. Otherwise, it's just another self-contained instant messenger like Windows Live Messenger, Trillian, or... ICQ. (People still use that, right?) Take a look:

Facebook says its Messenger app lets you do all of the following three things:

  • Chat and message with your friends on Facebook
  • See the latest updates from your friends in ticker
  • Get quick notifications about what’s going on

Actually, there's a fourth feature: you can dock the contact list on the side of your screen. I tried it and was dismayed to find my desktop icons all jumbled up once I un-docked the window. You have been warned.

Facebook says the software updates itself automatically, so odds are you won't be pestered by annoying update prompts and auto-downloading installers. At least, judging by the installation mechanism and the way the executable lodges itself in your AppData folder, I suspect the update mechanism mirrors Chrome's—painless, tasteless, and odorless, just the way it ought to be.

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