If you’re on a Mac and you use Facebook frequently, you’re going to love this. We’ve stumbled across a new experimental application being developed in-house at Facebook that’s called “Desktop Notifications“. It’s exactly what it sounds like — the application sits in your menubar at the top of the screen, giving you easy access to your News Feed, recent Wall Posts, and messages. It appears that the application is open for anyone to download (though it’s only got a few dozen fans so far) but note that Facebook is clearly labeling this as a prototype and experimental, so don’t expect any support if something gets messed up.
The application is native, which means it doesn’t have any of the CPU usage issues or quirks of Adobe AIR. Using the app is very straightforward: as new messages, notifications, and wall posts come in, you’ll see a Growl-like notification box slide into view. Even better for avid sharers, the application features a universal hotkey for sending out a new status update, though this doesn’t seem to have support for all of Facebook Publisher’s functionality (sharing photos, etc.). You’ll also quickly find that aside from updating your status, most of the functions featured in the app (like composing a new message or viewing your News Feed) are really just links to the Facebook website — you can’t do much from within the app itself. That said, if you’re just looking for a way to bring your Facebook notifications to your desktop, this is a perfect solution.
Of course, this isn’t the first application that brings Facebook to your desktop — a number of third party apps like Amigo, Seesmic and TweetDeck offer some of the same functionality (and more). And Facebook has built its own AIR app that lets you view your News Feed and post status updates.
Thanks to Gambit for the tip.