WhatsApp is coming to the desktop, thanks to a web client that launched today for Chrome and Android. Reached by The Verge, WhatsApp confirmed earlier rumors, which pointed to a newly live page at web.whatsapp.com. "The primary use is of course still on your phone," a spokesman said, "but there are people who spend time in front of a computer at home or at work and this will help bridge the two."
Your phone will need to stay connected to the web for the client to work, and all user messages will still reside on the phone, but WhatsApp is hoping the client will give users more flexibility. A spokesman said the company plans to bring the same experience to iOS, although the timeframe is still unclear. Detailing the features in a subsequent blog post, the company said, "we really hope you find web client useful in your everyday lives."
To use, point Chrome to web.whatsapp.com and scan the QR code displayed in the browser using the latest version of WhatsApp. Unfortunately, iOS users won't be able pair the web client due to "Apple platform limitations."
With more than 600 million users, WhatsApp is one of the largest chat clients in the world, and the app's growth has fueled rumors concerning the company's next move. In November, WhatsApp partnered with Whisper Systems for end-to-end encryption, bringing strong security to an unusually broad user base. In December, the company's plans for voice-calling were revealed by images scraped from WhatsApp's public site, although the company has yet to publicly release the feature.
Casey Newton contributed reporting to this article. And thanks to josemi for the tip!
Verge Video Archives: What is the Future of Communication? (The Big Future, Ep. 8)