This one’s for all you messaging app fanatics, or those of you who would rather reply messages through your computer instead of your half dead smartphone that is idly charging on your desk, because it only has 50% of battery life left by lunchtime.
With the dawn of social media, we started to see companies making third party apps for users to unify their social media habits within the confines of a single browser tab or installed software. Seasoned users of Facebook and Twitter might be familiar with applications such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and Seesmic.
That was then. Now cross platform messaging apps are all the rage. Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, Whatsapp, WeChat, and Telegram, to name a few, and it was only a matter of time that someone somewhere would rehash the all-in-one app idea and tailor it to messaging alone.
Meet Franz, a month old desktop app created by Austrian developer, Stefan Malzner.
Older users might argue though that this is akin to the second coming of Adium, a once popular instant messaging app for Mac during the days of MSN messenger and ICQ. This whiff of nostalgia was to be expected since the humble beginnings of Franz is that it was originally intended for the Mac ecosystem.
Built atop the Electron, a cross platform app framework, this is your desktop messaging buddy, or at least it hopes to be, and is available for Linux, Windows and Mac as a desktop-only application.
One application, 14 messenger services
List of compatible apps at the moment:
Think of it as a mini browser for only your messages, which in essence, it actually is. After logging into your individual app accounts, you will be greeted with the all too familiar interface that you are used to when using the web versions of those individual apps.
A bit of technical nitty gritty. Users have reported that using Franz alone on their computers results in smaller disk space being taken up unlike, say, installing the desktop apps of every individual app at the same time, resulting in better memory management. Good news for users looking to save a bit of hard drive space, especially you SSD users salvaging every last gigabyte of space.
One service, unlimited accounts
It’s a feature touted by Franz where you can basically add endless number of accounts of any one supported app. I could see this coming in handy for multiple business owners and social media strategists, having the ability to connect with your readers/users/customers/colleagues throughout your various messaging apps. A switch of a tab will have you going from replying business proposals for your lifestyle site, to answering product enquiries at your online store.
Companies and students may too find some use for Franz. With a wealth of team chat apps currently on board, collective discussions can be done with a switch of a tab. Fret not, gamers have not been forgotten either. Have meaningful conversations with your buddies over at Steam when you are not in-game.
In East and Southeast Asia, messaging apps LINE and Kakao Talk have also seen a surge of users in recent years and cannot be found in Franz, not yet anyway. Though with the presence of WeChat inside, there is already a sizeable Chinese community in this region who may potentially try out Franz.
This app has been receiving lots of positive reviews among fellow startups and the tech community in general within Europe and North America, markets which I foresee is where Franz would feel more at home for now. The Asian demographic, not so much.
Franz is still and ongoing project for its founder, who is consistently and constantly making tweaks and rolling out updates as he finishes making changes. We are however, worried about security concerns though – and ultimately, Franz serves as a web aggregator that captures all your log in details. Technically, we are unsure how they are storing and processing these user log in data.
If you like what you are reading, go ahead and give Franz a chance. You may fall in love with the ease of usage, and if you have any feedback or suggestions, leave a note at Franz’s Product Hunt thread, where Mr Stefan Malzner himself has been actively engaging users.
This article is written by Mohd Shazni.