Franz - Single app for all your instant messengers -A review

Our life – both professional and personal – revolves around social media networks. Having so many apps and web tools for managing this huge list of accounts can be really harrowing. Don't worry – there is a new tool on the horizon to help you manage all your online accounts in a single application. We will analyse the Franz app in this article.

There was a time when we had only a few online accounts. A handful of those accounts included Google Talk, Yahoo and a couple more. With the advent of smartphones, there has been a rise in the newer services and applications. With the onslaught of notifications pouring in from different services, you may need to juggle a couple of devices, trying to manage them. Not anymore – you now have Franz. Franz is an app that combines all those essential messaging services into one simple application.

What is Franz?

The app Franz came into existence as an OS X app in March last year. The app was launched on Product Hunt. The application works as a desktop only app and looks to work as an aggregator of all your Instant Messenger apps.

Whether you have Facebook Messenger, Hangouts or WhatsApp, having to constantly juggle between them is not going to be an easy task. Franz is definitely making it easy for you to manage all those accounts. Having all those services under a single head can be very helpful if you are constantly bombarded with all those notifications that turn quite annoying at times. A necessary evil, one may say.
Franz is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. It takes all of your instant messaging services together within a single app and thus, all of your apps are managed from a single window instead of having to jump between the multiple windows and apps.
The list of supported services is indeed a point for envy. FRANZ supports almost all the services. It brings together a total of 14 apps. Here is the list of all supported instant messengers as of now -
  • Slack

  • Hipchat

  • Facebook Messenger

  • Telegram

  • WhatsApp

  • WeChat

  • Hangouts

  • Skype

  • GroupMe

  • ChatWork

  • Gitter

  • Discord

  • Steam

  • Grape

The Features

Well, the service is indeed a welcome gesture given the fact that we have a huge list of Instant Messengers and it would indeed be the best option to have a single app to handle all those apps.
The one unique feature I would assign to the app is the convenience. You get to manage all your messengers in one go without having to move from tabs to tabs or even different applications.

It comes with different tabs for each of the application you use. It uses the web interface of the messaging application concerned which by the way are not available for common user consumption. One of the plus points of using the web interface is you get the latest on offer from each of the service provider without the need for the app update by the developer of Franz.
The application has a clean and minimalist UI. The app uses a low virtual memory. Another feature we liked most with the app is you don't need to create a separate account for Franz. Other similar services like Trillian need you to create a separate app account for using them. Franz, on the other hand, takes you straight to the task at hand – choosing your options from a list of service providers.
Franz does not access any of those instant messengers through any API, instead, it accesses the WebKit or in other words acts like a browser with respect to the instant messaging service. Having the WebKit access has the following advantages -
  • The service will not break even when the service provider makes a change in its APIs
  • You have access to all the newer features almost instantly without having any need to update your app.

Anything to worry about?

Well, the application does have a few issues. However, they are not the major ones.
The action buttons work like they would do on a web browser. The Maximise, Minimise and close buttons should have worked like they would on an Instant messenger application. An option to minimise the application to the notification area would have been an added advantage.
There are concerns with the issues of privacy as some skeptics of the service claim. But they are negated by the mechanism of how the service works. One of the facts is that the app works by communicating straight with the service concerned and does not store any of your data. As the product designer, Stefan Malzner says,
" Franz does not work with the services APIs, instead you are using the direct web interface of a service…. Franz does not store anything besides the typical browser cache like Chrome".

One more issue that can be annoying the lack of support for Audio or video calls. You can only send and receive messages – no calls of any nature are possible as of now. The reason for the same is the lack of support on Franz for extensions. On Skype, no video calls are allowed, while Hangouts will bring up a new tab. Thus, it defeats the very purpose of the app. The developers have stated that they are looking into it.

Unique points of the app

Though Franz has a few drawbacks outlined above, it has many unique and best features to boast of. I feel the positive points outweigh the drawbacks.
Franz is indeed a well-designed application. It does not hog down your memory. That would be the best part of this app. Being the new app off the block, it indeed brings a new dimension to the messaging services.
Another best part of the application is it lets you add multiple accounts for each service. This is perhaps something that can be treated as the most thoughtful feature. It comes handy when you have to manage an account for office and another one for personal use.

And now, over to you…

The developers are worthy of praises for this much thoughtful concept of merging all major instant messaging services. Yes, it may not meet all the expectations of a power user. However, that should not stop you from checking out the unique and in-demand features that Franz aims to address. Being a new concept, we would definitely look forward to it offering much better features going forward.
In any case, Franz would definitely be a great solution for all your needs and issues as far as instant messengers are concerned. We would recommend this app to all strata of users including the power users out there. Free to download, the app is available on Windows, Linux and Mac. You may download it from Please note that the app needs you have Windows 7 or higher and for Mac, you need to be version 10.9 or higher.

Article by Timmappa Kamat
Timmappa Kamat is a technology enthusiast. He has an active interest in newer technological developments. He is fond of new gizmos & gadgets. He loves to share his knowledge through tech-savvy websites as a freelancer. A Mechanical Engineer by profession, he is equally interested in blogging, with his own blog. He wants to carve a name for himself in blogging arena one day! If you need any clarifications about his articles,please respond here below or get in touch with him through his profile.

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