Facebook tests desktop messenger

Read time 2min 30sec

Facebook started testing a Facebook Messenger desktop application for Windows 7 this week.

The application is currently in limited beta release, and is only available to a select group of randomly chosen users.

The desktop version of Facebook Messenger includes chat, the Ticker and notifications, and is only compatible with Windows 7.

The Ticker is the newly introduced micro-news stream that Facebook added to its interface earlier this year. Speaking at the F8 Developer Conference, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the Ticker serves as a real-time feed, including all activities of a user's friends, as they happen.

Zuckerberg said all “micro” activities would be relegated to the Ticker, while the main news feed would be filtered by an improved algorithm, to show users what it deemed to be the most relevant and important “news” items.

The Ticker was, however, met with the usual consternation of any changes on the Facebook platform. This week, however, Facebook announced further changes, with the addition of Sponsored Stories to the Ticker.

It is yet to be confirmed whether Sponsored Stories will appear in the Ticker on the desktop client, or only within the site itself.

Facebook says the trial application “lets you use Facebook without being on”.

“While you surf the Web or use other applications on your computer, you can: chat and message with your friends on Facebook, see the latest updates from your friends in Ticker, and get quick notifications about what's going on.”

Big potential

According to TechCrunch, the desktop application has the potential to catch on quickly, due to the popularity of the Facebook-integrated Windows Live Messenger desktop client, which is the top app on Facebook, with over 18 million daily users.

The sheer number of contacts that users already have on Facebook could also be another advantage for the social network in the desktop messaging space.

Facebook says: “During this trial period, we plan on rolling out changes to the app and expect outages and periods of instability as we make improvements.”

Chatting with multiple friends, video calling, limiting chat availability and editing settings are not currently available through the app.

In terms of privacy, Facebook says the same preferences a user has set in their privacy settings on the main site will apply when using the Facebook Messenger for Windows app.

“If you're not in the test group, you'll be able to get the app once we roll it out to everyone,” says Facebook.

There is no indication of when the public roll-out may be, and users are still waiting for the official public release of the new profile design, Timeline.

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