WhatsApp, the messaging app currently used by over one billion people worldwide, has launched a desktop application. The application, which can be used on computers running on Windows and Apple’s OSX, will be an “extension” of users’ phone, the Facebook-owned company revealed.
The WhatsApp desktop app can be used on computers running the Windows 8 and Mac OS versions 10.9 and above and it connects with the computer’s notification center. In addition, as it will be a native client to the desktop, the newly-launched desktop app will recognize keyboard shortcuts, so no need to touch the mouse or trackpad when using it.
The launch comes one year after WhatsApp made available its WhatsApp Web application, which could only be used on computers running Chrome. In fact, the new desktop version runs in a very similar way, so users of WhatsApp Web will have no problems adjusting to the new app. In order to start using it immediately, users must head to the app’s website and download the version supported by their operating system. Next, in order to activate the app on your desktop, it is necessary to scan the QR code of the mobile app. While it is needless to say that your computer must be connected to the internet during this time, it is perhaps useful to remind those who want to download the app that their phones too should have an internet connection.
Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014 for over $19 billion, in what is still the company’s most important acquisition to date. Facebook has since removed the 1 US dollar subscription fee, and overall has been on the lookout for new ways to connect with and expand its user base. In a move that reflects this orientation, Facebook said it would not run third-party ads on WhatsApp to compensate financially for the loss of revenue.
At the same time, WhatsApp has narrowed down its focus and subsequently dropped support for a number of devices, such as the Blackberry 10, as well as Nokia’s S40 and Symbian S60 versions.
While extremely popular worldwide, WhatsApp is facing backlash from regulators worldwide. Currently, the app is having a hard time in South Africa and, most notably, in Brazil, where it recently faced a three-day ban for denying the police access to conversations thought to be relevant in a criminal investigation.
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