Franz Messaging App review
In an ideal world, there would be one master messaging platform that everyone used on both their phones and computers. There wouldn’t be a weird disconnect between trying to send someone an SMS vs MMS vs Instant message, and features like video calling or group messaging would “just work”, no matter if you’re using your phone or your laptop. Most instant messaging apps get close to this ideal, but everyone has their favorite app. Some prefer Facebook Messenger, others Google Hangouts or Skype. Since everyone has their favorite, the easiest way to chat with everyone is to have an account for every service.
There are a couple services that aggregate different services, but there are some features missing. For example, IM+ on Windows supports Google’s Talk protocol, Facebook messenger and other services, but doesn’t support video calls and doesn’t import your previous messages from those services.
A great app I’ve been using the past week is Franz. Franz is a desktop program for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux that supports the web viewer for Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, Skype, GroupMe and other chat services. Setting up your IM accounts is just like logging into the service’s website: put in your username and password and you’re good.
All the features from using each messaging service in a web browser are supported, including video calls. How the video call is handled depends on which service you’re using: a Hangouts video call opened a new tab in my web browser, while a Facebook video call just opened a new tab in Franz itself. Either way, my call was able to connect no problems. Also fully supported are desktop notifications when the Franz program is opened.
That’s really all there is to it — Franz is a no frills aggregator for your various IM platforms. As of now, there’s no mobile application and as far as I can tell it wouldn’t be possible — going to hangouts.google.com or messenger.com on a mobile browser redirects you to install the Hangouts or Facebook Messenger app. Franz can be downloaded from here.