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With the release of Windows 8.1, we finally have an official Facebook app from the social network itself. The long awaited Facebook app has hit the Windows Store and many Facebook addicts have flocked to it, seeing what it has to offer the Windows 8.1 experience. We’ll see what the Facebook app can do and whether it lives up to the hype.

Facebook itself teased an official Windows 8 app since launch day.  However, Microsoft denied it would ever happen because of the intense rivalry between the two companies.  With Facebook gaining more popularity and market share, Microsoft may feel threatened in some ways because of it.  It’s a welcome addition to Windows 8.1 and taking advantage of the Modern UI of Windows 8 is what the official app from Facebook is all about.

Features of the Windows 8.1 Facebook App

Let’s look at the features of the Windows 8.1 official Facebook app. Not much varies from the social network as you use it online, but it’s still a nice app addition to Windows 8.1.  The Facebook app takes everything you could ever want in the Modern UI and applies it in a beautiful, full-screen layout that gives users access to every part of Facebook that counts.  Let’s take a look at the official Facebook app for Windows 8.1.

Main Screen

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The main screen for the Facebook app is beautifully laid out and lets you see just how effective the Modern design of Windows 8.1 can be. You can easily access anything you need from here, including Pages, Messages and more. You can also access Facebook Chat right from the main screen and any other screen in the Facebook app.  If you’re using a touchscreen version of Windows 8.1 on a PC, you’ll see that the touch screen functionality of the app is fluid and smooth across the screen.

Notifications

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Notifications can be seen from anywhere within the Facebook app, but the layout blends in nicely with the rest of the app’s functionality which is a nice touch. If you have the live tile on the Start Screen active, you can see live notification updates so you can respond to them by opening the app.  You can turn on out of the box app notifications as well as add the notifications to the Start Screen when you’re account is locked and you step away from the computer.

Messages

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The messages area gives you an easy way to pan through messages from friends, family, and coworkers. You can quickly compose, archive and even check out spam from here. This looks much more like an instant messaging app than it does the traditional Facebook messaging system and might just get more users to utilize it.  The Facebook messaging system works wonderfully within the app but using a third party messenger when you’re away from the app is the way to go if you use Facebook Chat regularly.

Pages

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Facebook Pages look stunning in the Facebook app, taking advantage of not only the Modern design but also really letting cover photos shine as you can see from our TechNorms banner. Pages can be managed from here as well and there’s no word yet if we’ll see a dedicated, official Facebook Manager app similar to what’s available for Android and iOS platforms.

Overall, as you can see, the Facebook app can be used just like you would the Web and mobile versions of the social network which will make it easy for users to adapt to the app once installed.

How to Get Stared with the Facebook App

Open the “Windows Store” from the Start Screen, All Apps Screen or through the “Windows + Q” shortcut.

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If you use the latter, search for “Facebook.” If you opened the Windows Store traditionally, you can either search for the Facebook app, or you’ll see it featured in the Store for now.

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You’ll want to read a bit more about what the Facebook app can do on your Windows 8.1 machine by clicking “Permissions.”

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When you’re ready to install the app, click “Install.”

The background install process will take place within the Windows Store, and you’ll be alerted by a notification when Facebook is ready to be used.

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Since Windows 8.1 installs new apps to the All Apps Screen as opposed to directly to the Start Screen, so you’ll need to “Right-click” the Facebook app and create a Pin to Start icon.

The first time you login, you’ll be prompted for your username and password. The Windows 8.1 Facebook app will save this information until you log out.

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You’ll also be prompted to run the Facebook app in the background.

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The Facebook app is a live tile and can be used to get the latest notifications from the social network on your Start Screen. This will only work if you turn on the option to run the Facebook app in the background.

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Once launched, you can use the keyboard shortcut “Windows Key + C” to open the Charms Bar, then the Settings for the Facebook app. Unfortunately, the app itself has no real settings in Windows 8.1, instead, you manage Facebook from the website as usual.

Conclusion

The official Facebook app is a welcome addition to Windows 8.1. It’s beautiful, sleek and takes advantage of everything the Windows 8 atmosphere has to offer. If you were waiting for a better way to use Facebook in Windows 8, this Windows 8.1-based app delivers.

What do you think of the official Facebook app for Windows 8.1? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Download the official Facebook app for Windows 8.1