Whatsapp, which was founded in 2009, commands over 600 million users but could only be accessed through smartphones. There have been demands by active users for a PC interface and finally after a long wait, the popular instant messaging App has now a desktop version called WhatsApp Web.
The desktop version can be used by scanning a QR code with your phone to log in.
Whatsapp wasn’t the first cross platform messaging app. There were apps like Facebook Messenger, Google Talk, Viber and Skype, but Whatsapp was quite special in that its users could log in using their phone numbers unlike apps like Skype and Google Talk. Also a contributing factor to its success is that it has one of the simplest user interfaces with the majority of the work done in the back-end, and hence minimal user intervention required. It was so popular that social media giants, Facebook bought it for a historic $19 million.
The web version acts more as a mirror to your phone and not as an independent client. Your phone has to be on and connected to the internet for the web app to work. iOS devices are not currently supported (though they announced that they are working on it) and it only works with Google Chrome on the PC. Other limitations are that you can’t block users, create, or leave a group.
The WhatsApp Web is accessible through Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry or Nokia S60 devices but you need to install the latest version.
If you want to have a go now? Catch the WhatsApp web right here. https://web.whatsapp.com/
WHATSAPP COULD BE BANNED IN THE UK
Following the incident that happened in Paris where Islamist gunmen massacred 12 people at a satirical weekly magazine, United Kingdom Prime Minister, David Cameron said he had plans to ban Whatsapp alongside Snapchat and other messaging apps. His reasons were that the messaging apps contain encryptions which make it hard for security forces to track even with a warranty.
Given the scale of internet communications, we are left to see if the UK government dare manage to push the messaging apps out in a nation where SMS has been on the decline thanks to the rise of Whatsapp and Snapchat.