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WhatsApp Underwhelms With Browser-Based Client Attempt

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WhatsApp Web will ensure you won’t have to check your phone while you’re sitting at a computer

WhatsApp has taken its first step towards internet domination, by launching a browser version of the highly popular instant messaging phone application.

WhatsApp has 700 million users sending 30 billion messages per day, and has largely taken over SMS in Singapore. Now if you don’t have WhatsApp on your phone, you are a mountain turtle.

Except WhatsApp Web is not truly a web application, nor will WhatsApp dominate the Internet yet, because for some reason, WhatsApp Web uses YOUR PHONE’S connection, as opposed to your computer’s Internet connection.

So if your data is cut because you spent yesterday streaming 4 years’ worth of Running Man, you can’t use WhatsApp on browser unless you have a Wi-Fi connection.

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Oh, and that’s not all! WhatsApp Web only works on Google Chrome for now and your phone has to on the Android OS. WhatsApp is unable to support WhatsApp Web on iOS because of the platform’s limitations.

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But for those who fit the above criteria, here’s how you can use WhatsApp on your computer!

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Available at web.whatsapp.com, you need the latest version of WhatsApp to use WhatsApp Web.

Users need to scan a QR code on the website using WhatsApp (open WhatsApp -> go to the Menu -> select WhatsApp Web).

The page should refresh to show all your conversations once the QR code has been scanned.

My experience

My phone is a Xiaomi Mi3. Unfortunately, WhatsApp Web seems to hate my Chinese-made Android smartphone, because whenever I tried to scan the QR code, nothing happened.

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Now I am in the same category as iPhone users.

Will this change WhatsApp’s game?

WhatsApp has a history of going after third-party developers of the IM service. The most recent case came when the makers of WhatsApp Plus, a third-party WhatsApp application, received a cease and desist letter from WhatsApp ordering them to shut down their “unauthorized” application. Installing Whatsapp Plus would have required users to remove the original, so to see WhatsApp come down so heavily on the makers is not surprising. Users were also not spared from the policing — they were forced to observe a 24-hour countdown timer before they could resume using the service.

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Huge surprise then that this web client is so disappointing and lacking in variety of platforms, considering its determination to not allow third-party developers to do a (potentially) better job. Netizens are also slamming the web-based app for its lack of connectivity options, likening the app to “an auxiliary toy” given WhatsApp Web is an exact mirror of the phone app, which still requires phones to be alive. Phone dying? The browser client even warns you so.

A total overhaul has to be observed if WhatsApp Web is to compete with other web-based messenger applications in the market. To be honest, iOS users aren’t missing out on much at present.

The connectivity issue requiring phones to be connected to the Internet while using the browser version especially causes WhatsApp Web to pale in comparison with Facebook Messenger, another popular IM application. The latter functions as a stand-alone app on your phone but also syncs messages sent via the Facebook website with no catch, without the use of a phone’s connection.

Looks like WhatsApp is still primarily concentrated on the smartphone app market.


Featured image via Wikipedia Commons
With references from The Independent UK, PC World, WhatsApp Blog, guru8

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