There’s a new messaging app in town, and unlike other cross-platform apps on the market today, this one connects to some of today’s most-used social networks and chat services. Let’s meet Franz!
What is a cross-platform messaging app?
Simply put, cross-platform messaging apps are solitary applications that connect you to multiple chat servers. Pidgin, for example, is an open-source chat client that hooks you up to all your chat networks through one program. That means you can simultaneously chat with friends on AIM, Bonjour, MSN, Yahoo!, ICQ, MSN and many other networks at the same time, and all without having to download use different native chat apps.
Trouble is, not a lot of people are using AIM or ICQ any longer, so the old school universal chat apps feel just as outdated as the networks to which they connect you.
Franz is a new, free messaging desktop client that combines some of today’s hottest networks in one place. Franz currently supports social networks and chat outlets you’re probably already using, like:
- Facebook Messenger
- Google Hangouts
With Franz, you can add multiple accounts to each service.
Say you have a business Facebook account and a personal Facebook account. You can add both accounts to Franz to stay in constant contact with clients in addition to friends and family. And if you’re on Slack, you can add an unlimited number of accounts there too, which is a huge step up from needing to log in and log out of different Slack accounts, something you must do if you’re using Slack’s native or web app.
Getting started with Franz
It’s a stupid-simple to get up and running with Franz. Here’s how to get started.
Step one: Download and install Franz
Franz is available for Windows, OS X and Linux. Download it here.
Installation is a breeze, and the program walks you through the steps needed to get the application on your machine.
Step two: Choose which services to add
The welcome screen above is where you’ll be able to choose which social networks and chat services you want to use. Add as many as you like. You can come back to this screen later and add other services as needed.
Step three: Add your login credentials
Once you’ve chosen the chat services you regularly use, you’ll need to add your login credentials to Franz.
Click the service at the very top of your screen and you’ll be led to a new screen on which you can add your username/password combo. Do this for all the chat services you wish to enable to start automatically when you open Franz.
Step four: Start chatting
Open any chat service and start chatting as usual. Each chat service looks exactly like its mobile or web version, so everything should look familiar to you. Here’s the Slack chat window, which looks identical to Slack online:
To switch between chatting services simply click the service you want to use at the top of your screen and a new chat window will open for that network only.
When you receive a new chat, a notification alert will sound, and you’ll see a visual of your unread chats within the app. If you’re on a Mac or work in Linux, the app icon in your Dock will also display the number of waiting messages.
Franz is currently operating in beta, so there may be a few unexpected bumps here and there, though we’ve had nothing but smooth sailing from the get-go.
Franz is free and available for Windows, Linux and OS X.