A good percentage of WhatsApp’s 700 million users have a reason to celebrate today–for the first time ever, the ultra-popular instant messaging app for smartphones is now available for use on your desktop, via a web browser.
For the time being, at least, there are a few limitations.For one thing, WhatsApp’s desktop version is a straightforward mirror of the WhatsApp on users’ phones, meaning that you need an active web connection on your phone, rather than your computer. For the majority of users this shouldn’t be a problem–but it’s worth remembering if you plan to take advantage of the service.
“The web browser mirrors conversations and messages from your mobile device,” WhatsApp founder Jan Koum notes in a Facebook post. “This means all of your messages still live on your phone.”
Secondly, it’s available only for Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry users–so, if you’ve got an iPhone, prepare to be left out in the cold.
“Unfortunately for now, we will not be able to provide web client to our iOS users due to Apple platform limitations,” Koum says in the post.
To connect your web browser to your WhatsApp client, you need to visit https://web.whatsapp.com in your Google Chrome browser, then scan the visible QR code inside of WhatsApp, and you’re ready to get chatting. You’ll also need the latest version of WhatsApp for it to work.
In all, it’s not quite as seamless as a dedicated desktop WhatsApp version would be, but it’s certainly likely to be appreciated by the instant messenger’s legions of fans.
The news comes the same day as reports that WhatsApp has been cracking down on customers who use third-party clients to access its service–by banning the apps and temporarily blocking users.
One such third-party app, called WhatsApp Plus, said that it received a “cease-and-desist” from the Facebook-owned WhatsApp, and will now be shutting down its service effective immediately as a result.