Collaborating with various partners from different parts of the world usually involves finding a common ground and a suitable platform that allows for smooth communication and quick file sharing between team members.
Developed with Electron, Franz is a well thought-out and intuitive application that aims to bring team members closer together by packing the world's most famous messaging and collaboration services under one roof.
This said, Franz's most important characteristic is the fact that it comes with support for Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, Telegram, Skype, Slack, WhatsApp, HipChat, GroupMe, WeChat and Grape.
After a typical installation process and upon first launching the app, you are greeted by its very intuitive user interface. As expected, you are required to input the credentials for each of the services described above to use Franz.
You can start off by adding new services from the provided list. It is at this point that you can think about Franz as a somewhat simplistic web-browser, as each newly added service is displayed in its own tab on the upper part of the main window.
This makes it quite effortless to manage multiple services at the same time. Even better, you can open multiple instances of the same service and log in with multiple accounts, if you wish. Switching between the enabled services can also be achieved with the help of native hotkeys.
When you receive new messages, Franz makes sure to bring this to your attention with the aid of modern looking bubble notifications with numbers on them. Managing and disabling the active instances requires you to visit app's main tab, the one with the Franz symbol on it.
Since the app is currently in a Beta development stage, some minor interface glitches and interaction bugs are to be expected, as we have discovered during our tests.
Sure, it would have been nice if the app would support system-wide notifications and also if it would offer more customization options, in general.
Taking all of the above into consideration, at least in principle, it is really hard to fault Franz. It does an excellent job of bringing together the most popular messaging and collaborative tools under a single roof, all without feeling counterintuitive or cumbersome.
We can only hope that the development will continue to the same level of forward thinking and that future services and more customization will find their way into Franz.