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Facebook Messenger for Windows and bullshit ‘tech news’

By on Jan 6, 2012 in Tech Takes | 0 comments

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Facebook went ahead and launched a new ‘messenger application’ for Windows that can be download here. Quite expectedly, the tech news brigade went gaga over it.

Not a single story I have read on this topic so far has pointed out that this so-called ‘messenger app’ is a skinned version of Chromium browser that does nothing more than load the same chat window you would find on Facebook’s desktop site. This should be obvious from the installer (same as Chromium) and processes the application spawns (similar …Updater.exe etc processes). There’s crap, crap, and more crap like:

The application was developed entirely by Facebook and does not constitute a new partnership with Microsoft, which is a big investor in Facebook. It’s not clear if Facebook will offer support for anything before Windows 7, or if it will simply move on towards Windows 8. Clients for Mac and Linux will likely only be released if the Windows 7 version proves popular.

If Google Chrome can be installed on Windows XP, I’m willing to bet this messenger app can be too. Man does sloppy ‘reporting’ sicken me. New York Times can be annoying in their formal and pretentious tone of referring to people as ‘Mr Zuckerberg’ and the like, but at least they bother to research up their articles before publishing rather than any bullshit that comes into the writer’s head.

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Oh I do love the Facebook Messenger mobile app, by the way. Such an incredibly easy way to send real-time text messages without even having a contact’s phone number. The beauty is doesn’t have the urgency of SMS / WhatsApp and allows you to reply at your own pace – immediately, if online or sent as push message to mobile; at leisure, if offline or it’s a long message.

That’s so odd, isn’t it? Functionally, they are apps which are accomplishing the same thing – delivering messages in real-time – yet they have their own ‘pace’. With a smartphone, you could technically have a back-and-forth conversation using email too (if you use Gmail, it will keep the conversation threaded) but nobody in their right mind would ever use email for a chat conversation. Think about when you chat on Gmail – it actually is saved as an email conversation. There’s an implied sense of urgency when you talk to someone using an instant messenger. In this particular case, I think this happens because neither email nor Facebook Messenger give any indication of whether a message was successfully delivered to a recipient and whether it was read. WhatsApp (similarly, BlackBerry Messenger) show delivery reports as well as time of last login, thus creating implications of messages being ‘ignored’ if they are not replied to within a timeframe considered ‘reasonable’.

I wonder whether any human-computer interaction or psychological research has been done into such phenomenon, of usage patterns for means of communication depending on how they are marketed.



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