Franz is a relatively new, free application for Mac, Windows, and Linux that integrates over a dozen various messaging systems into a single window. When you launch Franz, you’re automatically signed into Slack, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Skype, and more. The app is really a container; you are essentially accessing tabbed web views of all the apps in a single window. By consolidating them, though, you receive a single set of notifications for all your services. A red “1” will appear next to any unread messages, so you can see at a glance what is waiting for you. The nicest part is that you are not forced to move between a dozen browser tabs or a folder full of programs. Even if you do not, it seems as though you just have one chat app. It’s simply Franz.
Franz is not a universally perfect communications system. There is no Adium 2.0. However, this is the closest we will likely ever come. As the messaging ecosystem metastasizes and becomes the universal interface for everything we do, it is far more practical to provide simple access to our various tools than to attempt to create a single Megazord Messenger that embraces them all. Moreover, this may be superior regardless. You get Slack as it was intended to be used, and with a single keystroke, you can get Facebook’s most comprehensive version of Messenger. This is the best alternative until the universal chat software that would make life so much simpler is developed.