Everybody loves a good chat, whether it’s via the medium of video, audio or simply a real-time text conversation. For years Facebook Messenger has been a major component in people’s lives, and what was once baked into the main Facebook site has now split off into its own, separate entity.

Messenger has been available as a standalone app for years, but the desktop version has always lagged behind its mobile counterpart. Now Facebook has invested some real love into the platform, allowing people to liberate themselves from their web browsers to continue chatting from the comfort of their desktop or laptop.

Aside from the larger screen, the app should be broadly familiar to anyone who’s used the mobile version. However, despite looking superficially similar, there are differences in where certain controls and commands are, so it’s not quite as intuitive as it might be.

Finding where certain commands have been mapped to isn’t too difficult, but it is annoying – for example, the contact-specific commands found by tapping the person’s avatar in the top-left corner of the chat window have been moved to the vertical ellipsis button in the top right-corner.

There’s little control over settings – open Preferences by clicking your account picture and you’ll see three main options: Active Status (toggle on or off), Notification settings and a limited Appearance pane with options for changing the theme and emoji skin tone.

The feature set is now practically identical to the mobile platform, but one standout new feature is support for video group chats, with a gallery-like view making it easier to see everyone involved.

Verdict

Messenger for desktop finally gets the love it’s been craving for years. There are still annoyances, but it’s finally made some huge strides in the right direction.