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January 26, 2015

WhatsApp launch WhatsApp Web

Mobile messaging service WhatsApp launched WhatsApp Web last week, a desktop version that allows users to access the service through any web browser.

Long awaited by many, the Web version was touted as a browser-based equivalent of the mobile service that allows messaging and file sharing between individuals and groups.

There were high hopes for what could be a worthy replacement for the classic MSN Messenger, with less emoticons and song lyric screen names, but with added mobile connectivity. Thanks to the huge reach of WhatsApp across platforms and wide user adoption (it is now more popular than texting), there were also hopes for the possibility to unify users of all mobile OS systems on one messaging service that could also be accessed on a desktop, without relying on Facebook or Gmail.

The feature has now launched, but there are already teething problems. The feature cannot be accessed by iPhone users, and the only browser through which the service can be used is Google Chrome. WhatsApp have so far blamed Apple for the lack of iOS support, citing “platform limitations”.

WhatsApp Web also requires the user’s phone to be connected to the internet at all times while in use, which means it does not solve the problem of accessing WhatsApp when your phone battery is dead or when you can’t get a data signal. WhatsApp Web is essentially just a mirror of a phone or tablet, pairing the device with the browser by scanning a QR code.

Still, there are a few benefits. WhatsApp’s security stays intact, as all of your messages are stored on the device, which means there is no risk of anyone snooping on your conversations. The web mirror also allows WhatsApp messages to become more integrated in to the workday, with Desktop Notifications available.

To use WhatsApp Web, make sure you have the latest version of WhatsApp installed on your device, and head to https://web.whatsapp.com/.