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Facebook is reportedly making a Messenger app for Mac

Desktop instant messaging apps could be back in vogue.

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Desktop messaging apps haven't gotten much attention lately. Sure, you continue to see mainstays like Skype, but the big chat services still tend to steer you toward websites. That might be changing shortly, however. A TechCrunch tipster has provided both an image and details of what looks like a native, pre-release Facebook Messenger app for the Mac. It's really the iOS app writ large, but it suggests that Facebook might be willing to return to the desktop after its relatively brief, ill-fated experiment with a Windows app years ago.

Facebook isn't confirming anything, and there's a real possibility that this app won't reach the wild soon, if at all. There are good reasons to suspect that it's more than just an experiment, however. The social network is increasingly treating Messenger more as a central platform than a sideshow -- a native app would help it escape the noise in your web browser and get the spotlight that Facebook wants. It could be a competitive edge, too, in a world where many messaging apps have either a limited PC presence or none at all. If the desktop Messenger app returns in earnest, don't be shocked if it's here to stay.

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