This is the first time the company has gone beyond mobile applications.
The messaging service, owned by Facebook, has almost completely replaced text messaging in India, the world’s second largest telecom market by number of voice and data users.
The client, which can be downloaded from the link whatsapp.com/download/ is however not as full-featured as that of its competitor Telegram. WhatsApp also doesn’t offer any version suitable for Linux users, unlike Telegram.
The application is run as-is by clicking on the downloaded file, and not installed to the program directory of Windows, as is the case with regular applications, including the Telegram client for PC.
In terms of functionality and user interface, the client is largely a copy of the browser version of WhatsApp (web.whatsapp.com), except for the fact that it doesn’t require a browser to run in.
Like the browser version and unlike Telegram, WhatsApp’s PC client does not operate independently.
The client works by using the mobile client as its gateway and data store.
This is unlike Telegram, where the PC client works even if the phone is offline.
Separately, WhatsApp has also started ‘pre-identifying’ phone numbers of customers who register as ‘business’ users.
Under this facility. the name of the sender is shown even if the recipient has not saved the phone number to his or her contact list.