WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging service that claims a billion users, has launched desktop clients for Mac and Windows. The release comes about 15 months after WhatsApp released its first web app.
People who have already been using WhatsApp in their web browsers will find that the software isn’t significantly different. The company said in an announcement “our desktop app is simply an extension of your phone,” with all messages synced between devices.
WhatsApp’s success in countries like India, Brazil, and South Africa is of course driven by the high penetration of smartphones in those markets, but giving power users–especially people who rely on WhatsApp for work communications–desktop options helps it competes against other messaging services, like iMessenger, WeChat, and Skype.
The launch of new desktop clients, as well as default end-to-end encryption, comes as WhatsApp tests out B2C accounts, which would give it a much-needed new revenue sourceafter dropping its 99 cent annual subscription fee.