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WhatsApp for web and the confusion its causing

WhatsApp has just recently introduced a way to manage all your messages on a web browser. What this means is you can send and receive messages from your computer without having to touch your phone. For someone like me who is connected to WI-FI at work on my laptop and phone, this just seems second to nature. However not everyone is happy, some with good reasons and some because they don’t understand how WhatsApp works to try and help protect your privacy.

WhatsApp for Web

WhatsApp for Web

There are lots of tutorials around on how to setup it so I’m not going to create another how to tutorial. Below are a few links:

http://blog.whatsapp.com/614/WhatsApp-Web

http://www.techzim.co.zw/2015/01/need-know-access-whatsapp-computer-steps/

 

This web client has a lot of restrictions and this is the part making some people unhappy. This client requires your phone to have the latest WhatsApp. This means updating it to the latest version first before attempting to use the web client. In future this will not be a problem. If you have a version that works or is the latest you should see an option like this:

New menu option for WhatsApp

New menu option for WhatsApp

The other thing about this client is that it only works in Google Chrome. This really got people angry, screaming and shouting all sorts of names at WhatsApp developer. But for something that was launched yesterday, I believe this is only temporary and will work with other browsers in future. Some people go as far as seeing this as a collaboration between Google and Facebook (owners of WhatsApp) to capitalize and get browser market share for Google Chrome. That again is probably hogwash, the reasons might be more technical. As a user of Google Chrome, all I need to do was open a new tab type in web.whatsapp.com and I was in business/

WhatsApp for Web Browser Interface

WhatsApp for Web Browser Interface

Another thing about this client is that it requires a working mobile phone WhatsApp account to work. This means you already have to have an activated working WhatsApp messaging client on your phone before this can work for you. So this means if you have no phone, or you have a feature phone which does not support WhatsApp, you are out of luck. This is not a web client where you can just go and register and start communicating. Nope. It’s just a copy of your messages on your phone. And because it’s a copy of the message son your phone with real time syncing, your phone needs to be online for you to be able to send and receive.

As someone who has been using this the whole day, it works for me. I can upload media (picture, videos etc) easily from my computer straight to the recipient. I can also view sent images and videos within my browser. In addition, if you enable Chrome desktop notifications, notifications of incoming messages are overlaid over the current windows, which when you click take you to the message received. And then you can easily type and reply via your keyboard and continue doing your work.

Despite the negativity it has received, I like it and believe with time it will improve. But for me, in its current form, its already working for me.

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