WhatsApp has quickly become the world’s leading mobile instant messaging app. Launched in 2009, the service now boasts over 700 million active monthly users, and has hopes to increase that to a billion. But one feature that WhatsApp enthusiasts have been hoping for some time is the ability to use the system to chat on desktop and laptop devices. Now, at last that’s possible, with the recent launch of WhatsApp’s web-based chat client. So here’s the scoop on what this development means and some tips on how to get in on the action.
To get started with WhatsApp Web, you’ll need to open a QR code on the WhatsApp website on your desktop computer and then scan it in WhatsApp on your Android, BlackBerry, Nokia or Windows Phone mobile device. That’s right – for reasons unknown (WhatsApp puts it down to “Apple platform limitations”), users of Apple mobile devices running iOS are as yet unable to access the web client, and it’s not clear when that will change (though, as ever, hacks have emerged to make this possible).
The other drawback is that the web chat client is only available within Google Chrome, Firefox and Opera – but if you’re currently using another browser, that’s easily achieved with a quick switch. Once you’ve scanned the QR code, which identifies your mobile WhatsApp account to the web client so that the two can be synced up, you’re ready to get on with chatting on the web – whether that’s for work or pleasure.
The web client acts as an extension of the mobile app, meaning that those conversations you’ve started on your phone are mirrored across to the web but not actually stored there – all data remains on the phone. This means that, in order for the web client to work, your phone needs to remain connected to the internet in order for remote access to those chats to be possible. In addition, to be able to use the service at all, you need to ensure that your phone is equipped with the latest version of WhatsApp.
WhatsApp is growing in significance for businesses, the service recently having added VoIP calling capabilities. Get in touch with us to find out how to make it work for you.