Facebook has launched a standalone Messenger app for desktop, which you can find on both macOS and Windows.

Facebook announced that, over the past month, audio and video calling via Messenger on a desktop browser has grown 100%.

Facebook responded to the increased demand with the launch of a desktop app.

Using the Messenger desktop app gives users a number of benefits compared to using Messenger on Facebook.com in a web browser.

These are some key highlights of the dedicated Facebook desktop app:

  • Group video calls: Stay in touch with family and friends on a much larger screen compared to using a smartphone.
  • Easy to connect: If you’re connected with someone on Facebook, then you’re connected on Messenger. No need to have a phone number, email, or sign up to a new service.
  • Multitasking: It’s easy to have Messenger open in one window while you do other things on your computer. Something that’s not possible on a smartphone.
  • Notifications: Notifications are available on desktop, but you can still choose to snooze or mute them if you prefer.
  • Chat syncing: Easily switch between devices without losing any of your Messenger history.
  • Includes all the same Messenger features you already know: Such as Dark Mode and GIFs.

Because of the release of this new app, Facebook is now in direct competition with Zoom.

Here’s where the free version of Zoom falls short compared to Facebook Messenger:

  • Zoom’s group calls limited to 100 participants
    • Facebook Messenger allows unlimited participants
  • Group meetings on Zoom are limited to 40 minutes
    • There is no time limit on Facebook Messenger group video calls
  • For many people, Zoom is a new service to sign up for
    • Billions of people are already on Facebook, nothing new to sign up for

On paper it may sound like Messenger has Zoom beat in every category that counts.

Of course, one reason that many people still prefer Zoom over Facebook is that it s not Facebook.

There are also folks who want to maintain a separation between business and personal by welcoming the likes of the Messenger app. This will also let users keep business contacts separate from personal contacts.

Over time, we will see just how people respond to the new video and audio app, and if it changes how they use the service.

If Facebook Messenger ends up being used in ways similar to Zoom, we’ll likely see it reflected in Zoom’s user growth over the next few months.

SourceMatt Southern, FacebookVentureBeat