WhatsApp expands to the desktop

A new app for the Mac and Windows will help the messaging service better match its competition

WhatsApp is taking its popular messaging service to the desktop with a new Mac and Windows app released Tuesday

It's a pretty straightforward app: the millions of WhatsApp users can now continue conversations from their phone on a computer, and vice versa. That's a boon for people who want to chat with friends on WhatsApp without having to use their phones. 

The move should help WhatsApp better compete with other messaging services like Line, WeChat and Telegram, which already have desktop applications available for at least one platform. 

In order to set the app up, users have to scan a QR code inside the application with the Android or iPhone versions of WhatsApp, which will then allow them to log into the application and use it.  

What's interesting about this launch is that users of WhatsApp could already access the service on a computer using its web app. In addition, it's also curious since Facebook doesn't have a desktop application for its Messenger service, despite also owning WhatsApp.

Messaging applications have become increasingly popular over the past few years, with the expanding mobile market fueling their popularity. WhatsApp is one of the leaders in that market, and was acquired by Facebook in 2014 in a deal worth $22 billion. 

The news comes shortly after WhatsApp was temporarily blocked by a judge in Brazil, after the company didn't turn over data being sought by the government. That order was overturned on appeal last week

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