WhatsApp might finally be fixing its biggest annoyance, and getting a client for desktop computers.
The messaging app began life on phones, and has only made its way off them very cautiously. It launched a web version last year, but that is very closely tied to the phone – that must still be turned on and be on the internet if the web version of WhatsApp will work.
The suggestion only comes from some apparently leaked screenshots that ask people to translate important bits of text for the desktop app into other languages. And so it is possible that WhatsApp isn’t working on a desktop client at all, but it would fit closely with its ambitions.
Chat apps have become big business in recent years, with traditional names like Skype competing with new business-focused apps like Slack. Many of those continue to operate desktop clients, meaning that people can use them to talk in the workplace or elsewhere.
WhatsApp has apparently been looking to take on those apps by offering similar features, including tools that let people add attachments to their conversations. And so it’s possible that the company would explore bringing their chats to computers as well as phones.
The company has indicated in the past that it’s unwillingness to spread onto other platforms is partly because of its commitment to security and encryption. Using just one device allows the company to ensure that messages aren’t being read by other people, it has indicated.
It is possible to run WhatsApp on the desktop by installing third party clients, which wrap the web version into an application that can be run on the desktop. But those still come with the same limitations as on the web, and similarly depend on the phone.