WhatsApp Web is here
WhatsApp, the global free SMS messaging client, is a mobile app that operates cross-platform on platforms as diverse as Apple iPhone and Nokia S60 to Android and Windows Phone. There are also some work-around desktop implementations explored here.
The WhatsApp developers have just released a new web app known as WhatsApp Web which is intended to allow users of the WhatsApp chat service to exchange messages online while being able to see the status of their list of friends added to their WhatsApp account.
Restrictions On Web Access
The WhatsApp user cannot just jump on the web and start using the service. They have to authorize the web use via their mobile device first. The session has to be individually authorized making things a bit cumbersome to say the least.
Presently users can access the page using various web browsers but only the Google Chrome web browser will work correctly. Users of other competing web browsers will be told that the WhatsApp Web service currently only works with Chrome which is a major restriction even for a beta version of a new product let alone for an app that is firmly established already.
The other restriction is a biggie. Take a look at the welcome page for WhatsApp Web above. You'll see that the Apple iOS operating system is not even listed as supported yet. Oops. Seven months later, WhatsApp adds desktop support for iPhone users too.
Update To Latest WhatsApp Version First
It is necessary for users to update to the latest version of their WhatsApp app on their respective operating system before proceeding. With Android, the current latest version of WhatsApp is 2.11.498. For other mobile operating systems it is likely to be different.
Authorizing WhatsApp Web
This example covers the Android WhatsApp version:
- Visit the WhatsApp Web service page using only the Google Chrome browser (Win, Mac, Linux), Firefox (Win, Mac, Linux), Opera (Win, Mac), or Safari
- Open the WhatsApp application on your phone
- Tap the three vertical dots in the top right of the app
- Select WhatsApp Web from the drop-down menu that appeared (If you don't have this option, you need to update WhatsApp to the latest version on your phone)
- An explanation screen is then displayed
- Scan the square QR bar code displayed on the page at step 1
- Data will then be synced between the smart phone app and the website
- The WhatsApp Web online app will update to display your chats, converstions, groups and friends
For other smart phone mobiles:
- BlackBerry: Chats > Menu button > WhatsApp Web
- Nokia S60: Menu > WhatsApp Web
- Windows Phone: Menu > WhatsApp Web
Notifications in Google Chrome
It is possible to turn on the notifications within Google Chrome in order to receive messages when new messages are received. Profile updates, status changes and new chats will also receive a new notification as well.
WhatsApp Mobile App Displays Logged In Systems
The WhatsApp mobile app will keep track of which devices and computers are presently logged into the same WhatsApp account. By tapping on the same WhatsApp Web menu option the app will show where the account is logged in. This includes last active date / time stamps.
WhatsApp Web and Phone Inexplicably Linked
Disconnecting the smart phone from the internet or closing down the WhatsApp application on the mobile device will cause an error to appear within Google Chrome. This makes the web implementation of WhatsApp a bit ham-fisted at present.
The WhatsApp Web online messaging option is a useful addition for the chat service but clearly it is still a work in progress. The requirement to be logged in with a still active mobile connection will be a problem for people with questionable internet connections on their mobile device. iOS is not yet supported which will not please the Apple fanboys one bit. And the inability of the service to work with anything other than Google Chrome web browser is frankly idiotic.
Whats App Web added support for Firefox, and Opera, besides the Chrome browser who was the only browser supported initially. Internet Explorer is still not supported, although support for Microsoft Edge is now in the works - here's an alternative on how to use Edge with WhatsApp Web right now. iPhone users can also use WhatsApp Web now.