Facebook is giving people a way to use Facebook without actually using Facebook. The social network launched Messenger for the Web on Wednesday, a standalone messaging app that can be accessed from Messenger.com.
It looks and functions exactly like Facebook Messenger on mobile, down to the same notification alert sound. And Messenger for the Web is significantly faster than the chat function on Facebook.com. Chat heads appear next to all your contacts, and on the right hand side is a link to your friend’s profile page so you can easily jump between Facebook and Messenger.
Facebook split Messenger from the flagship Facebook mobile application last year to build out more robust features, turning the standalone chat application into a payments platform, business communications service, and developer tool to drive application downloads.
When the mobile split came, many people were frustrated with the requirement to use two apps, but I found myself using Facebook less and Messenger more. The News Feed is a time suck, and without the distractions of pointless photos, news, and status updates, communicating with friends became more efficient. That might happen on the Web now, too.
To access the new chat, visit Messenger.com. You’ll be prompted to sign in with your Facebook account, but if you’re already logged in to Facebook on your browser, simply click the login button and you’ll be automatically directed to your messages.
Illustration by Max Fleishman