Facebook today launched its own stand-alone Windows 7 only client for Facebook chat, Facebook Messenger for Windows (download link). After a bit of a flurry where the link was leaked and posted, apparently first by the Israeli blog TechIT, Facebook came out later in the day and officially launched the new client, confirming to Emil Protalinski at ZDNet that the launch was official.

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While Windows Live Messenger users have been able to chat via Facebook for quite some time, the client offers a number of Facebook specific features, including a live updating Facebook ticker and notifications, as well as a dockable client window, and the new client seems to make using Windows Live Messenger for Facebook chat somewhat redundant.

It’s unclear what the future holds for Windows Live Messenger as we know it, as there are already public plans to include messaging into Windows 8 “out of the box”, and Skype, recently acquired by Microsoft, seems to be another redundancy.  Microsoft recently announced that it was opening up the Messenger network via XMPP access,  allowing 3rd party clients to use the network, which could further lessen the need for a proprietary Windows Live Messenger client, but who knows what the plans are at this point.

You can learn more about Facebook Messenger for Windows on the Facebook help page.