Zoom may be grabbing all the headlines lately (for better or worse), but it’s hardly the only option for making video calls over the internet. Microsoft has Skype. Google has Hangouts. And Facebook has Messenger — which is now available as a desktop app.
You can now download Facebook Messenger from the Microsoft Store or Mac Store to run it as a standalone app without relying on a web browser or mobile device.
Facebook notes that there’s been a 100-percent increase in people using Facebook Messenger for voice and video calls over the past month… which isn’t surprising at a time when millions of people around the world are staying at home to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the most part the desktop app works like the browser version of Facebook Messenger. But as a standalone app it could be easier to use while multitasking — your operating system’s task switcher will show FB Messenger as its own app rather than as a browser page. You also get native notifications.
The app has an optional dark mode theme, supports group video calls, and all of your chats are synchronized across platforms so you can pick up where you left off on a different device.
One thing that had me confused for a few minutes though? There’s no download link in Facebook’s announcement — because it looks like the only way to download the app is from the Apple or Microsoft app stores.