If you’ve been surfing Facebook or just reading the news recently, you would probably have known by now that you can now use WhatsApp through the comfort of your web browser through this new-fangled thing called “WhatsApp Web”.
No big deal, you say. Isn’t the whole point of WhatsApp that you don’t even need a computer to use it? You could perhaps argue that WhatsApp caused the downfall of MSN/Windows Live Messenger in the first place. Then again, I miss the convenience of being able to access everything at one go when you’re at your computer. I mean, who wants to type on a tiny touch keyboard when you have a full-sized one literally at your fingertips? Sure, there’s Skype and Facebook Messenger and a whole host of other apps, but you can’t argue that WhatsApp is the app that almost everybody uses.
Then again, you might say that WhatsApp Web doesn’t replicate the MSN Messenger experience of yore since it runs in a pathetic web browser window. I agree with that, and that’s why I’m about to show you how to get WhatsApp Web to run just like a native Windows or OS X application.
Before we continue, perhaps I should state that WhatsApp Web doesn’t support your iPhone right now, so don’t get your hopes up. Fortunately though, it supports nearly every other smartphone platform out there, including Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry. Android fanboys, rejoice, for you finally have something useful that doesn’t run on iOS.
Apart from that, you simply need to download and install Google Chrome from here, if you don’t already use it. Don’t worry if you’re an Internet Explorer, Safari or Mozilla Firefox user like me. After the initial set up, you won’t even realise that WhatsApp Web is running within Chrome.
Of course, you’ll also need WhatsApp installed in your phone. WhatsApp Web basically relays messages to and from your phone, so you’ll still need your phone connected to the Internet. Make sure WhatsApp is updated to the latest version.
Working the Magic
Once you have Google Chrome set up, you first have to set up WhatsApp Web. Point Chrome to https://web.whatsapp.com, and the screen that appears should show you the instructions for your phone. Basically, you simply have to scan a QR Code using your phone’s camera and you’re ready to go. If you don’t use a camera phone (sorry, air force personnel), you could perhaps transfer your WhatsApp account to a friend’s phone to get it set up first, before transferring it back to your phone. The beauty of WhatsApp Web is that it stays logged in even after you restart your computer.
Once you have logged in and all that, you simply need to click the menu icon (the bar with three horizontal stripes) on the right side of the Address Bar, click on More Tools, and then Create Application Shortcuts. You can then choose whether you want a desktop icon, taskbar icon, or both. With the shortcuts, you can then also link them to your Start Menu/Screen if you so wish.
And… that’s all! As seen below, WhatsApp appears just like a separate application on my taskbar, and can run even if Google Chrome isn’t open. Neat, huh?
Best Features of WhatsApp Web
I use WhatsApp Web whenever I’m on my computer now, and I really relish the ability to type out looong messages in just a few seconds. If you’re a student like me, you often encounter friends asking you how to tackle homework questions, or vice versa. It’s so much easier typing out the solutions, or the question itself, with a full-sized keyboard and on a large screen.
Another neat feature of WhatsApp Web is that you can attach any picture from your computer. I used to take a photo of my computer’s screen in the past to show a friend something; it seems silly in retrospect since you can now attach a clearer screenshot instead.
Apart from that, you can also receive notifications whenever you receive a new message. When a new message comes in, a ‘ding’ sound will play and a notification will pop up at the bottom right-hand corner of your screen, just like how it used to be in MSN Messenger.
Best of all, all your conversations from WhatsApp on your phone are synced to WhatsApp Web and vice versa, so you won’t need to worry about missing messages like in Skype, where it happens surprisingly often!
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So… what are you waiting for? If you’ve a compatible smartphone, head over to WhatsApp Web right now to unlock the full potential of WhatsApp.
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