Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp has announced the launch of its desktop app for Windows and Mac users and is compatible with devices running Windows 8, and Mac OS 10.9 and above. WhatsApp is also available as a web application across all desktop devices. It is unclear if the desktop version will support end to end encryption, a feature WhatsApp rolled out for mobile last month.
As of now, the desktop app for WhatsApp can send pdf files, and MS Office supported documents like .doc/x, .ppt/x etc. but not any other kind of files (mp3s or mp4s).
Initially, users who wanted to use WhatsApp on desktop could do so through an emulator called Bluestack. It looks like Bluestack is still around, offering a Windows, Apple devices and Android app as a standalone messenger. Note that Telegram, another messaging app, also has apps for Windows and Mac (unofficial app for Linux), as well as for Windows Phones, along with a web version.
The WhatsApp desktop app works similar to the WhatsApp Web client by mirroring conversations and messages from a mobile device. The company said in its blogpost that the desktop apps is synced with WhatsApp on mobile; the app will run natively on the desktop, which means it will have support for native desktop notifications. While the desktop app seems to be an extension of the earlier launched WhatsApp Web, the company says that it has additional features like desktop notifications, keyboard shortcuts etc.
WhatsApp Web was launched in January last year. The company’s transition to a desktop app could possibly signal its foray into video calls in the future, competing with video calling services like Skype and even Facebook’s Messenger.
WhatsApp activated full encryption for one-on-one text messages in 2014, a feature also available for VoIP calls.
-In March, the company had also updated WhatsApp app to support document sharing, starting with pdfs.
-In February, the messaging service had announced that it had crossed 1 billion monthly active users globally.
-The desktop app is in addition to the existing apps for Android, iOS, Blackberry, and Windows Phone, among others. Though, in March, the company had announced its plans to stop supporting BlackBerry devices and other older operating systems by December 2016.
Other messaging apps:
– Last week, Viber launched its desktop applications for Windows and Mac that also offer support for video calls, Gadgets360 reported. It had over 300 million registered users globally and 40 million registered users in India in April 2014.
-In March 2015, Microsoft-owned Skype, one of the earliest messengers to have a desktop website and one of the biggest competitors to the new Whatsapp desktop app, had reported 330 million active customers monthly across the world.
-In October 2014, Japenese-based Line messaging app, another desktop messaging service, available for almost every computer and had reported over 560 million registered users worldwide with 30 million users in India.