Facebook-owned mobile messaging app WhatsApp has revealed a limited “desktop” version of its messaging app for Google Chrome, with the news overshadowed by Microsoft’s holographic glasses announcement, while most users will miss out on the release altogether.
In order to use the new web client, users will need to visit https://web.whatsapp.com and scan a QR code inside WhatsApp. After scanning the QR code, messages from the app will be mirrored in the user’s web browser.
However, the web version will only work with Google Chrome as a desktop browser. This means users of Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer will all miss out.
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Likewise, WhatsApp blames “Apple platform limitations” for the fact that the web client will not work at all with iOS. However, the desktop version will work with the Android, Windows Phone or even BlackBerry versions of WhatsApp.
Also, unlike other popular messaging clients, users will effectively ‘tether’ their desktop chat sessions to their smartphone. This is because a users’ smartphone will need to be on and connected to the internet in order for the desktop version to work.
In February last year, Facebook agreed to purchase WhatsApp for $US14 billion. Competing products, such has Skype, have long worked on desktops without needing to be tethered to a smartphone.