After announcing that Facebook would be turning its Messenger instant messaging app into a development platform, it has now brought the formerly mobile-only app to the web at www.messenger.com.
Previously only accessible by web browser inside the main Facebook site, the new site takes the look and feel of the iOS Messenger app and brings it to the desktop-using masses; a sizeable portion of their user base. As of March of this year, the mobile app has 600 million monthly active users, keeping it in close competition with WhatsApp and blowing away all others. As WhatsApp launched its web app earlier this year, this release brings Messenger closer to parity with the dedicated instant messaging service.
According to a Facebook spokesman, the company has no plans to remove messaging from its core site but messenger.com is a way for users to chat with their Facebook friends "without the other distractions that Facebook can provide." This seems to be inline with the recent announcements of Facebook Mobile Payments and using Messenger as an platform in its own right, allowing developers access to the hundreds of million Facebook chat users.
The site itself is very bare bones, without any ads of any kind currently marring its white background, much like the iPad app it takes its cues from. It has icons to support audio and video calling as well.
Messenger.com is launching for English users worldwide today and will roll out in other languages in the coming weeks.