Facebook Messenger Desktop app is making waves, and all because of an unexpected and sudden rise of Zoom – a video conferencing app.
Due to the measures undertaken by several countries to curb the Coronavirus outbreak, aka Covid-19 outbreak, a huge number of people have now resorted to working from their homes. This has, in turn, led to the sudden hike in the need for remote working tools to communicate with each other and stay connected remotely. And this space is currently being dominated by the popular video conferencing app Zoom.
As it turns out, the sift in the way people and employees are interacting has not gone unnoticed by the social media behemoth Facebook. The company has recently announced the release of a stand-alone desktop app for Facebook Messenger wherein it will be easier to message and video call friends and family on a bigger screen, be it a laptop or the PC.
The app is now available on the popular Mac App Store as well as on the Microsoft Store and functions completely the same as it does on the mobile and web versions. One of the noticeable features which Facebook is introducing for the desktop app is the dark mode, the roll-out of which many are looking forward to.
There were strong hints that Facebook was working on the app as early as 2016 but the social media giant didn’t announce Messenger for desktop until last year at its F8 conference. This year given the conference got cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak, it is understandable why Facebook chose to unveil the launch of the app without a big press event.
Messenger Desktop App: To Take On Zoom?
Due to the pandemic, many people who are now working remotely have opted for using Zoom for their video conferencing needs. Though the company is now facing some major backlash due to its privacy and security issues, it has however seen its stock skyrocketing in just one month. Zoom’s stocks more than doubled reaching an all-time closing high of $151.70 in late March this year. Zoom also became the most downloaded app in the Indian Google Play Store quite recently by moving past popular entertainment apps such as WhatsApp, TikTok, and Instagram.
From just 10 million daily active users to 200 million users in just three months, the growth of Zoom is talk of the town nowadays.
It is highly likely that Facebook’s decision to launch their own desktop version of Facebook Messenger at this particular time is an attempt to dethrone Zoom’s dominance over the entire video-conferencing space.
However, as of now Zoom still triumphs over the newly launched Facebook Messenger Desktop App when it comes to the existence of important features. One of the biggest shortcomings of the latter is its limitation to support up to 8 participants only when it comes to group video calling. On the other hand, Zoom can easily handle a group video call with 100 or even 500 participants at once. This missing feature will surely discourage some of the newly observed use cases which have emerged in the wake of the outbreak.
The Facebook Messenger also doesn’t offer an easy way to share an URL which allows other people to join in on a call. This further proves that it won’t be of much use for hosting public webinars or virtual social events.
Another major missing feature is the ability to share one’s screen with other participants which will discourage most of the business use cases. However, Facebook’s Workplace app offers screen sharing therefore we hope they integrate the same in the desktop app for Messenger as well in the future.
In this current scenario of social distancing and lock-downs, chat apps have now transformed from just being a simple way to stay in touch or arrange meetings to being the only possible form of human connection to the rest of the world. Therefore, it is important that they are now built as a complete extension of our lives rather than as a complementary feature to our offline existence. It remains to be seen to which extent can Facebook Messenger’s new Desktop App can accomplish that. We will keep you posted.