A computer scientist named Charles Bihis, who works for Adobe, has created a desktop client for Facebook, fittingly named Facebook Desktop. The app is a side project for Bihis, and is not directly affiliated with either Adobe or Facebook, but Facebook users may find it useful nonetheless.
It's a notification engine that gives Facebook users real-time updates from their friends directly on their desktop, without the need to even open a browser. When a friend posts an update, comments on one of your photos, tags you, etc., Facebook Desktop users will receive the notifications on their desktops, whether they use Windows or Mac.
"Once upon a time, I was involved in a project here at Adobe called 'Project San Dimas,'" explains Bihis. "That project eventually grew into a full-fledged product called 'eBay Desktop' which enjoyed some impressive success. I was lucky enough to be part of the protoyping, designing, and launching of the very first version, and it was very exciting. More recently, I’ve thought about doing something similar. Introducing, 'Facebook Desktop!""
"I moved away from my home in Vancouver for work and so Facebook has been a great tool to help keep me in touch with everyone," says Bihis. "I found, though, that the browser metaphor for the Facebook 'stream' just wasn't working for me. I didn't like refreshing my home page constantly to see what people were up to. I also didn't like keeping a browser open whenever I wanted to read some of my friends posts. So, I made a simple AIR app that hits the Facebook APIs, grabs the latest posts, and delivers them to me in an unobtrusive way. I ended up finding it so useful, I started adding more and more features, like the ability to pause/resume, replay missed notifications, update my status, etc. Eventually, I was encouraged by a friend to polish it up and release it for others to use, and so here we are!"
It's actually somewhat surprising that Facebook itself doesn't already offer something like this. Perhaps they'll build something similar in the future. It is worth noting, however, that other third-parties have built desktop clients for the social network in the past. Facebook Desktop can be downloaded here.