After six years of WhatsApp porting its messaging service to every conceivable mobile platform, the team has finally launched ‘WhatsApp Web’ for desktop.
Users will be able to scan a QR code on their smartphone to gain access to WhatsApp Web. Since users sign-up to WhatsApp with their mobile number, the team needed a new way to verify on desktop.
WhatsApp Web still has some caveats, including it not being available for iOS users due to “complications” on the platform, and the fact the paired mobile device needs to always be on.
The desktop client should be useful for WhatsApp users sending long messages, but for average users it might be easier to use WhatsApp on a mobile device, since it means both devices do not need to be turned on.
WhatsApp will continue to update the desktop version, including bringing more web browsers into the fold (currently only supports Chrome) and making sure iOS is compatible.
WhatsApp Web will be available on Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry and Nokia Series 60. The iOS complications seem to come from the fact Apple will not allow a third-party to connect with a computer through QR codes.
This update to work on the web is part of several updates to WhatsApp coming in 2015, including a reported VoIP client to compete against Skype.
There is over 700 million WhatsApp users worldwide, higher than Facebook Messenger and Tencent’s WeChat. The most popular countries are India, Indonesia, U.S. and some places in Europe.