WhatsApp yesterday launched the possibility of handling messaging from a web page. It was a feature requested by users, although they had always said that it was not in his immediate plans.
Why have tardardo much time to launch this important part of the service? Basically because WhatsApp is not a service in the cloud. And they have managed to launch the web version without changing this. Let’s look at the difficulties encountered.
WhatsApp is pure messaging
If anything they have presumed on WhatsApp always it is that they are a pure messaging service. They receive messages and the provided to your recipients. Once delivered they disappear from your servers. With this they have achieved greater efficiency, in the beginning they always boasted of the ability to handle simultaneous connections of your servers.
There they had the advantage of not having to store messages and the media that their user exchanged. That is, they are not a service in the cloud, they are a simple messaging service. If you change your mobile phone or you get a backup of your posts or they are lost. The only thing that appears when you change mobile are the groups to which you belong, but previous messages are not.
This initially had a clear for the company (although for not as much users) advantage and is that costs were controlled. They could grow in users without costs increase exponentially by the storage on your servers.
For users, the only advantage is that they don’t have to remember a username and password. WhatsApp is only a mobile where you register with the phone number and confirmed with an sms. Are you can not access the service from another site (tablet PC) so you don’t need anything more.
The competition that offers a service in the cloud
Now, if we go to competition virtually all messaging services are services in the cloud, Since Google Hangouts to the own Facebook Messanger (let’s not forget that Facebook bought WhatsApp).
And users are demanding this. Users want to be able to access WhatsApp from the PC when they are in front of him and not have that be typing on the phone having a way to communicate. This is a clear disadvantage and although the risk of losing users is low (let’s not forget that what defines the success of a messaging is the number of active users and that WhatsApp is undisputed leader) that risk is not zero.
So in WhatsApp were launched to develop its web version, which introduced yesterday. Now, I always had a doubt that launched this version since they had to change many things. They should become a service in the cloud and going against everything that had been done so far. But they have managed it without touching anything like that.
They have copied what others did for WhatsApp in the computer
There were already some third-party solutions for WhatsApp in the computer. What did these solutions was to communicate with the phone and remotely control our WhatsApp application.
Because neither short nor lazy WhatsApp has decided to do the same from a web interface, so it is possible to have WhatsApp on your computer without changing the philosophy of the service.
So the web version of WhatsApp what does is establish a connection with your mobile phone and replicate the content in your website. To do this they make use of very advanced web technology, WebRTC, and this has some drawbacks.
The first is that at the moment It is only available for the Google Chrome web browser, that is what best supports this technology. Surely soon be available for other browsers like Firefox, but it depends on the support they give to WebRTC.
The second drawback is that it is complicated enough that this method works on iPhone, WhatsApp Mobile has to be continuously sending data to WhatsApp servers so that the user has Web application replication, and in the background IOS applications are not able to do this. Don’t worry that there is no problem on Android.
So maybe the solution created by WhatsApp for web access is nothing new. What is new is that there to install anything on the PC, it is a website but what we do is to remotely control the phone, with the drawbacks of this (if it is turned off, if you lose your Internet connection or if we forget the mobile around the web does not work). But the good news (for WhatsApp) is that they have not changed the fundamental service. We will see what response has.
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