The WhatsApp Web App Is Pretty Dumb

WhatsApp does international texting better than anyone else and I should have been thrilled it’s now possible to use on your computer.

Truthfully I was. But after playing with the web version—which has now been out for three weeks—for Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry, I’m actually a little bit disappointed. That’s because in order to use the desktop version, you’ve got to pair your phone and your browser with a QR code. Add the fact that the phone has to have an active connection all the time, and the whole thing seems rather silly.

In general, the setup is brainless. All users have to do is head to https://web.whatsapp.com on their browser. Then all you have to do is to select the WhatsApp Web option in the app, where it will bring up a QR code scanner. Scan the QR code on the browser and you’re done. Computer and phone are now paired together, together forever. Just don’t do this at a shared computer, like at a hotel or hostel (as long as you don’t forget to log out).

Pairing process.
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Pairing process.

Though it’s nice in that it frees up my hands some—especially when I’m in the midst of a WhatsApp marathon sesh—it doesn’t make a whole ton of sense. By the virtual and required act of pairing, the phone is bound to be next to me. Plus the fact the phone’s got to be on the whole time.

This is what it looks like on le computer.
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On the computer.

This wireless pairing is essentially perfect for other mobile apps out there, especially ones that wirelessly sync a phone’s files and setting, but it doesn’t feel like a necessity in this case. Instead, what the company should have really done was associate each account to a username and a password. That way, phone or not, connection or not, I’d have access to all my WhatsApp contacts. It still doesn’t protect your account or your messages if you lose your device, though. (Every try to switch WhatsApp accounts from one phone to another? Most annoying process ever.)

Did I mention it doesn’t work for Apple devices, either? What was the point of this one?

The WhatsApp Web App Is Pretty Dumb via @maphappy
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[WhatsApp Web]

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