WhatsApp for PC
The WhatsApp messaging app isn’t just for iPhone and Android phones. WhatsApp for PC lets you use the popular messenger app on your Windows PC and chat with WhatsApp-connected family and friends wherever they are.
It’s free: WhatsApp Web is free to use and doesn’t include ads.
Secured end-to-end communications: WhatsApp messages are secured with end-to-end encryption using Open Whisper Systems’ Signal Protocol, which is also used in Signal’s Private Messenger, Facebook Messenger, and Google Allo.
WhatsApp, by default, encrypts messages end to end; for some other encrypted messenger apps, like Allo, you need to actively choose to chat using end-to-end encryption.
WhatsApp for PC is tied to your mobile phone number: The Windows version of WhatsApp uses your phone to authorize your account. During setup, you will be prompted to use the QR scanner in WhatsApp on your phone to scan the QR code on your computer. Once set up, you can use either your phone or computer for chats, with everything synced between the devices. WhatsApp also uses your mobile phone number to identify you and your contacts. (Curiously, while the official app name is WhatsApp Web, you don’t use a WhatsApp web client or web browser to chat but the WhatsApp application for PCs.)
Individual and group chats: Chat with anyone in your contact list one-on-one. You can have group chats with as many as 256 family members and friends and choose members as admins of the group.
You can share videos and photos, take a snap and send a photo using the WhatsApp camera, share documents, record voice messages, add stickers, and send contact information from your WhatsApp contacts list.
SEE: Android Security and Privacy Starter Kit
Doesn’t contain every feature found in the mobile version: Unlike the mobile version of the WhatsApp messenger, you can’t make person-to-person voice or video calls with WhatsApp desktop app.
Facebook data concerns: In light of news about how Facebook has and has not protected its users’ data, WhatsApp users may be justified in being concerned about how WhatsApp is protecting their account information. (The decision of WhatsApp’s founder to leave the company reportedly over Facebook security concerns doesn’t help lessen privacy worries.)
In a recent update to its terms of service, WhatsApp said that “Facebook does not use your WhatsApp account information to improve your Facebook product experiences or provide you more relevant Facebook ad experiences on Facebook.”
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Other chat apps offer end-to-end encryption without Facebook’s baggage: There is little that WhatsApp offers that you can’t find in other secure messaging apps. If you need to be on WhatsApp to chat with someone, that’s fine. But if you are looking for a secure and usable chat app, you can find other — and arguably better — ones, including the free and open source Signal communications service from Open Whisper Systems that lets you hold end-to-end encrypted text, voice, and video chats for free.
WhatsApp for for Windows is an easy way to keep in touch with family and friends who also use the app when you are away from your phone. The PC version lacks a few of the features found in the mobile app, and if privacy is your primary concern, you may want to consider another messaging app not tied to Facebook.
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