Facebook releases a standalone Messenger web app

It has many of Messenger's mobile app features

facebook messenger web

Facebook's new Messenger app for the web lets users chat like they would inside the mobile app, but apart from Facebook's site.

Credit: Facebook

Facebook has launched a standalone Messenger app for chatting on the web outside of Facebook.com.

The move is Facebook's attempt to create a dedicated hub for chats on the web as it incorporates many new features into the Messenger mobile app and grows its use. Facebook users can still chat with others as they would normally do on Facebook.com. But the new web app, accessible at Messenger.com, is aimed solely at messaging, without other distractions like the news feed or profile pages.

To use Messenger.com, which went live on Wednesday, users must sign in with their Facebook credentials. It works largely the same as the mobile app, with support for voice calling, stickers and emoticons, and syncs chats across devices. It's available to all English-speaking Facebook users globally. Facebook is working on making it available in other languages in the coming weeks, a spokeswoman said.

On mobile, Facebook has extended the functions of its Messenger app well beyond simple messaging. For example, users can now send each other money within the app. Third-party developers can also integrate their software into the app, giving users more ways to place digital content inside their chats. Facebook is also making Messenger a platform to let users interact with online retailers and receive updates on the status of their orders.

If someone has the new payments feature enabled in the Messenger mobile app, that function will be included in Messenger.com. Content from third-party mobile apps will be integrated into people's chats on the web, but that content can't be created from Messenger on the web. 

Facebook's Messenger app now has roughly 600 million users who log in monthly, which is almost half of Facebook's total user base.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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