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Facebook Messenger for Web – MSN 2.0?

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Late last year, the much remembered chiming, bleeping social hub known as MSN Messenger finally shuffled off this mortal coil to join the choir irrelevant. It made sense, with web-messaging on mobile platforms, Skype and Facebook’s easy to use messaging system, there was no real need for another separate program for online messaging anymore, the times have changed, as Bob Dylan would say if he decided to write that song again.

As of Wednesday though, the ever-innovative eggheads over at Facebook launched another independent version of the messenger app, this time for desktop browsers. It works more or less the same way as the mobile one does, the only real difference being that it’s spread across a wider canvas. The guiding principle behind it seems to be that you should be able to use the messaging service without being distracted by the rest of the site.

The thing is, we already have that. With the advent of heightened online connectivity on mobile platforms, WhatsApp, Skype, Snapchat and all the other modes of communication that aren’t handcuffed to a social network as Messenger is, nobody was really clamouring for a standalone iteration of it. It seems to me that Facebook are doing this because they want to dominate that market as well, they want to be the new MSN.

The thing is though, do we really need a new MSN? It shut down because nobody was using it anymore and while, granted, a lot of people stopped using it right around the time that Facebook introduced a messaging function, it also had a lot to do with the idea of a dedicated messaging program (or ever page) being hopelessly out of date.

‘But Callum you silver-haired fool!’ I hear you sputter ‘Skype is a dedicated messaging platform and it’s still used all over the world!’ Well yes, but it’s a video calling/conference calling platform first and a messaging platform second. MSN came about in a time when sending short, rapid-fire, conversational messages online instead of emailing was pretty revolutionary, now it’s just standard practise.

More to the point, if we’re in a situation where we want to avoid being distracted by Facebook, the messaging portion of it probably also falls under that umbrella. More to the point, if you do actually have to look at a Facebook message but are so easily distracted by the home page that you dare not go anywhere near it, you probably ought to be re-evaluating your life in a much broader context.

I could be wrong, everyone could embrace the new browser version and before long a fully-fledged program could be unveiled with so many emojis that they will actually have to invent new facial expressions to warrant them. The dedicated messenger program could be on the verge of a second-coming, you’ll have to let me know, I’ll be busy going outside and doing things whilst my WhatsApp takes care of all that.

Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Facebook Messenger for Web – MSN 2.0? Reviewed by Callum Davies on Friday, April 10, 2015 Rating: 5
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