WhatsApp, Messenger, Skype and Telegram – great at helping me stay in touch, useless at helping me stay focused.
Franz is a free desktop messaging app that groups together a bunch of popular chat & messaging services in one window.
And —*slow-mo air punch* — it now supports Linux.
The developers behind the app say the ‘annoyance’ of needing to have ‘different apps or browser windows’ open to stay on top of messages and chat drove them to create it.
Like many recent desktop apps Franz uses GitHub’s Electron framework.
So What Is It?
Essentially it’s just a web-browser, albeit one you can only use to message people with, Franz wraps the official web-clients of WhatsApp, Telegram and co in one streamlined window.
Think of it like Pidgin crossed with Chromium.
The main home screen is where you can add, edit and remove chat services.
Each of the 14 supported messaging services you can use in the app runs siloed in its own tab.
You can use multiple versions of the same service, so, say, your business WhatsApp in one tab and your personal one in another.
But what about privacy?
Well, the developers behind Franz say the app can’t read, access or log anything you send or receive.
You log in to each service directly through its official site using your username and password, pin, IR code, etc.
You’re not logging in to these services through a separate service, API layer, or middleman.
You can name (and later rename) connected accounts to help differentiate between them (and avoid any embarrassing mix ups).
You can’t current drag and drop tabs to rearrange them, so you’re stuck switching between them in the order you added them. You can now drag and drop tabs.
The indicator applet the app adds to the menu area is a nice touch, but largely useless. The icon will change to the number of unread messages waiting for you, but does not tell you which service they’re on.
Supported Services Include WhatsApp, Telegram and Skype
Below is a list of the 14 messaging services that Franz can currently connect to. The devs plan to add even more services soon, so what follows is by no-means set-in-stone.
- Facebook Messenger
- Skype (messaging only)
- Steam Chat
- Google Hangouts
Download Franz Messaging App
Franz is free download and is available for Mac OS X, Windows and Linux (though be aware that the last two are beta).
Download the correct version for your system and then extract. Inside the ‘Franz-linux’ folder you’ll find a bunch of files. Double-click on the one named ‘Franz‘ to run the app.
When running you can right-click on Franz icon in the Unity Launcher and select ‘Lock to launcher’ to keep the item accessible. Just remember to not delete the Franz folder!
You’re probably using at least one popular messaging service to keep in touch with work colleagues, flatmates, partner(s), family, etc. With so many social circles spread across so many services it can be an effort to stay on top of them all.
Franz makes keeping tabs on your online chats far more manageable.