Many a times I find myself working on my laptop, with the phone carelessly lying somewhere else in the room. It's a pain to go find it when a new message arrives.
The bottomline is, I guess WhatsApp doesn't need a Web Client to compete with other services. If you've been to India, you will realize how pervasive WhatsApp is, with or without a Web Client.
This is just an added convenience feature for some power users. So it is understandable that they went this route.
But I have problem with the way they have implemented it as of now. I mean to use it via web I need to scan the qr code every time.
Plus my phone needs to stay connected to internet. In India you can easily find lots of whatsapp users who wishes to use whatsapp via PC just because they dont have net pack on their phone.
Hope they remove this restriction soon.
LINE and WhatsApp were started on the basis of making a useful chat program for the masses. Usability for those on FF OS is not part of their core principles.
The objective of clients like LINE and WhatsApp are to make good chat for the masses. This can come at various technical costs, because that's not their objective, whereas Telegram is , at its core, about technology.
The only lesson from history is that all tecnologies succumb at some point. General infrastructure standards (like TCP/IP or HTTP) persist longer, but that doesn't say much for application level technologies.
>Remember that 'default' browser that had 90% of the market and now has less than 10%?
If anything that's a counter-example. Netscape, that "now has less than 10%" is the open source version. It had that 90% when it was proprietary. Besides, the current 2 big players that trump Firefox in users (Chrome and IE) are proprietary too.
>Remember that über successful smartphone company that owned the market with its propietary chat/email network?
Yeah, it got pwned by Apple and Android. Of which Apple, which is proprietary, has most of the smartphone profits, and Android has a lot of the share, mostly in lower cost phones. Not really about open vs closed. Meebo, a totally open phone never got anywhere, and neither did Mozilla's phone attempts.
>Flash for cool web effects anyone?
What about it? It dominated its niche of the market for like 15 years. If it dies its mostly because of general incompetence by Adobe. They never managed to create a mobile version that doesn't suck donkey's balls for one. They also died because a proprietary platform make a decision not to include it (iOS), which is not really about "open" winning.
Huh? I fail to see the logic behind this.
>And the fact that protocols and standards prevail is precisely because they need to be open to become protocols and standards.
Well, yes, but that doesn't say much about other levels of the stack, like applications. And besides, we've had lots of succesful proprietary but de-facto standards too, from the .doc format to .mp3 (patent encumpered), to GIF and h264.
Besides, how "I'm talking a picture while you see the whole movie"?
The case of browsers I mentioned, for example, spans 2 decades+ that closed browsers dominate. Or take desktop operating systems: closed ones are winning for 5+ decades.
That's a whole lot of pictures. I don't think there's a historical based argument you made for how the movie ends, besides your faith in a particular outcome.
> It's a complete shame that they use XMPP but modified it to make it non compliant on purpose.
* XMPP as a standard and as community implementation missed to jump to mobile. Because it's open, it can eventually get there, but it makes me sad and angry how Jingle (Google's Voice & Video extension) was poorly adopted by clients for years. And now we have Hangouts...
I don't have much respect for Hangouts really. If Google wanted to improve things they could propose Hangouts protocol as a replacement for XMPP. Make it an open IETF standard. They were such backers of XMPP in the past. And what did they do instead? Another walled garden and proprietary protocol. Total failure Google. That was the point when I said - you are lying about not being evil.
When communication service instead of enhancing communication tries to hinder it by intentionally gutting interoperability, one should avoid it like a plague.
Concepts can't be proprietary altogether. You can't own ideas. Instant messaging isn't proprietary either.
> A message sent through Whatsapp is an instance of the whatsapp application - not a standard message.
If you are talking about certain implementation of ideas being proprietary - that's exactly the point of my original comment. Making it intentionally incompatible to "control the market" is crooked lock-in tactic. Which is especially the case with Whatsapp which internally uses XMPP which was designed for interoperability and as IETF standard.
And I brought examples with e-mail. A long time ago Compuserve and AOL e-mail services used to be incompatible on purpose. But pressure from users to end that stupidity forced them to reconsider. There is no valid reason that a lot of IM services can't interoperate to a good degree. Except for greed and backwards thinking.
What? Is this true? I can't think of a reason why their devs would ever need the users phone to be online.
People think the value of Whatsapp is that it is so pervasive. That's a big part of the value, but so much of the value is that whatsapp knows who you really are. You might have a few twitter accounts, a couple of facebook accounts. But you have only _one_ whatsapp account.
Yes, people do crazy thing with accounts, and in many parts of the world there are good reasons to have multiple SIMs. People will have 1 IG for sexy photos and another for their family, etc. But there is far less motivation to do that with whatsapp, line, viber, kik, etc. The reason for the difference in motivation is that your whatsapp messages are explicitly shared with individuals rather than with groups so there is no need to partition messages by accounts. The main reason for have two whatsapp accounts is the old joke about having two SIM cards: "one for your wife, and one for your girlfriend".
From this I conclude that OP has fallen for the bizarre nonsense argument I've heard in Brazil a lot of times when WhatsApp was gaining traction: "You must use it! It's free SMS!"
What? No, it is not "free SMS", it is internet messaging. Internet messaging has existed since... since there was internet. Yeah, it is "free" as long as you have unlimited internet, but if that qualifies for "free SMS" email was free SMS much before WhatsApp.
People say that it is free SMS because of some reasons such as the fact that WhatsApp transfer your whole list of contacts to their server and thus populates the application contact list to the point that it is as convenient to use as SMS. Emails require email addresses. WhatsApp contacts are matched by phone number which are already on your phone address book anyway.
Its about perception. People here tend to place SMS, WhatsApp, LINE, Telegram all in the same collection because they are used to exchange small instant messages. Email is usually used for longer text that doesn't require immediate action.
It's not just about perception. In their early days, they used to advertise themselves as a "Free SMS" service, at least in Portuguese.
> Actually there are carriers in Brazil that allow free connection to WhatsApp server even if you have a limited connection plan...
This is very recent, after they got massive.
It's interesting at this point to think about identity and authentication in WhatsApp. They've never had a username or password and their use of your mobile phone number as your identity seems to have been key to their success (the other factor I'd cite is good cross-platform support).
WhatsApp authn on mobile consists of a once-off SMS verification to confirm you are running WhatsApp on the mobile device hosting the SIM card corresponding to the phone number identity you've claimed for yourself. That said, I recently saw a case of someone using a temporary pre-paid SIM card while she was traveling here in South Africa yet her WhatsApp messages from that phone still appeared to come from her New Zealand number. Not sure how that passed the authn.
The lack of username and password, I believe, is what has led to some of the unnaturalness of the WhatsApp web app. I don't think that their remarks of "the web browser mirrors conversations and messages from your mobile device -- this means all of your messages still live on your phone." reveal all of what guided their design choices. I also doubt that they "don't get the web". Instead I think they need the phone there and online because they have no username and password (or other device-independent authn) and they have thought quite carefully about protecting what got them ahead of the myriads of other perfectly functional IM apps out there in the first place.
There is nothing the FileSystem API can do that others cannot, although it might be less convenient or less optimized. Even that shouldn't be true any more, but it still might in some browsers.
Regardless, this was a wrong decision by WhatsApp. FileSystem is no longer standards track. The API document itself says
> "Work on this document has been discontinued and it should not be referenced or used as a basis for implementation." http://www.w3.org/TR/file-system-api/
Browsers should not implement it, and should in fact remove it, because it is nonstandard and never will be standardized. It is therefore dangerous for WhatsApp to use it - Google might do the right thing tomorrow and break their site, and it would be WhatsApp's fault.
However, Google has so far not shown much sign of intending to do the right thing here. As much as I admire many people at Google, and the company does many good things, this is a point that Google keeps getting wrong: Shipping nonstandard APIs, and keeping them active forever: FileSystem, NaCl/PNaCl, WebSQL, probably others I forgot.
I can only guess that Google simply finds those APIs convenient and uses them in its own websites, and has decided to never remove them. In other words, Google just doesn't care that they are nonstandard, which shows a lack of respect for the standards process. And as Google's market share rises over 50%, these are becoming de-facto standards, through an act of force.
One might say that this is an abstract "ethical" point, but WhatsApp shows exactly why it is not just that. Google keeping nonstandard APIs in Chrome for its own convenience opens the possibility of other websites using them. Either through ignorance - they don't know it's deprecated and nonstandard - or because they trust Google to not break them, and don't care about standards. The result is a web that works only in one browser.
Google, please do the right thing and remove nonstandard APIs.
This is what happened to XMLHttpRequest, or have you already forgotten that it was originally an ActiveX control?
There is not (and there never will) a single way to define how the web is built.
The single device strategy is to keep the whatsapp network a network of people - no bots and no spam.
They are still trying to destroy Kik, Line and Viber. The war is not over (http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/how-many-people-use-c...) Bots and spam would be just the reason for people to switch. As it is, spam might be the only thing that can kills Tinder - and people are watching that.
Line and Viber are more fun and more full featured than whatsapp. The only thing keeping people on whatsapp is that people are annoyed by having too many messaging apps on their phone. If people get sick of whatsapp they will nag their friends to install Line. Once those friends are nagged a few times they will install it. How about when they hear that the voice calls higher quality (subjective of course)?
Here in Brazil we do have Whatsapp and SMS spam. Whatsapp spam is rare but it happens and it will only grow.
It is easy for us to say that a growth of whatsapp spam is inevitable but I would bet a key part of whatsapp strategy is to take that down to as close to nothing as possible. In comparison on fb and instagram spam is embraced. I think that is part of the reason why we see whatsapp taking a different direction than other seemingly similar social networking companies.
The more things change the more they stay the same...
Or does Netflix tout the need for "content protection"?
DRM is fantastic business for Netflix as it creates a nice barrier to entry for competitors.
- If you allow two clients online at the same time, you need to support "carbon copy" meaning you need to send the messages to all the clients and keep the status of the messages in sync. This will take a lot of processing on the server side.
- When a client offline for a long time goes online, you also need to sync from the server all the messages that were sent during the client is offline.
So their architecture was built in such a way that the processing power on the server side is limited to the minimum. I believe that they may change its strategy in the future. However, it will take time.
Somebody probably came up with this crazy and cool architectural idea. "I know Jim! Instead of having the browser communicate with our servers, have it communicate with the phone which communicates with our servers! Brilliant! Cheers! <Gulp>! Another round of beers please!"
In all seriousness, you'll probably find that having Whatsapp on your phone is somehow tied to how they plan to monetize the platform. If the web client works without the phone there is no reason to have the app on your phone.
Some initial investigation at Mozilla suggests it's to detect whether you're in Chrome's Incognito mode.
I am not going to comment on the chrome only and non standard API complaints.
The key insight behind modern mobile messaging that allows them to scale cheaply is that for most consumers the phone is persistent enough that the server does not need to store messages. Ask a 19 year old if they need their old whatsapp messages. Most will say no. In fact, many proactively delete them. Turning a mobile messaging into a CPU and bandwidth only problem is a clever hack instead of it also being a disk and indexing problem.
This is hard thing for a lot of us to understand because we come from a world where our business has message retention and surveillance requirements. We want to run quantized self and sentiment analysis reports for the last 10 years. But most people either don't know that might even want that.
The other key insight is that knowing the user's identity can be more important than the user themselves.
I don't think you understood what I am complaining about. I am complaining exactly about chrome only and usage of non-standard api.
As for storage, the web client is requesting non-standard file system permission exactly to store things. I am saying they should use a standard API such as IndexedDB for that kind of thing.
I do understand a thing or two about IM having worked on more than a client before. There is no need whatsoever for the hacks they did...
As for surveillance, thats another can of worms that is not protected by what they are doing. Traffic is intercepted at other vulnerable spots such as the carrier itself or ISP.
That is not a mistake. It is a direct result of the fundamental insight that enabled whatsapp to become what is is - being stateless. Your first two complaints are technical, but the third is a business decision that optimizes their product to fit the needs of the market.
This is a by the by, but surveillence in the context of business requirements means something different. For example, financial companies need to surveil their employee's messages for illegal activity.
First of, these modern messaging/social/mobile-first messaging apps we see getting popular have a fundamentally different model than what most of us desktop-first are used to.
They are not centred around an account, but around a device.
If you delete your Line app, all messages are gone. Hell, even if you log into Line from a new device, messages on the old one will be deleted. A friend of mine recently lost her phone and she saw no other way than to create a new account. Another friend had Docomo help her in-store to transfer all her Line messages when she upgraded her phone.
I don't use WhatsApp, but reading other post here, it seems that they use a similar model (but not as extreme). Your phone is your account, and all your stuff is stored only locally on your phone (or at least only accessible locally).
This explains why the web-app works so poorly.
Yes, WhatsApp got big by being on all devices, but they provide the software and the software model is a "one device per user"-model. This works great in a mobile-first (or should I say mobile-only) fashion.
This is SMS on steroids, not messenger for your phone.
All a web client needs is persistent, large storage - which is provided by IndexedDB - and to access the network to reach the service's servers.
WhatsApp should be able to make a fully-functional web client.
People release crippled software on the web because they don't understand what it is all about. The day we lose interoperability between browsers it will all be doomed. The fact that most of the websites work well on the top browsers is a victory that only those that lived thru the 90s will appreciate in its full glory. ;-)
I'd say a functional web client might be more of an issue for them than a broken one.
Clean data and uninstall the app from your Android, uninstall the app and then install again. WhatsApp you ask if you want to recover some of your history.
"WhatsApp automatically makes backups every day at 4 AM and stores them in the WhatsApp folder of your Android phone."
The common answer: because al my friends are using it. I don't understand why people don't use SMS when most smartphone contracts come with unlimited messages now. Why send your info through ANOTHER third party? But my friends are using it for the group feature so unless I don't want to be left out of the loop I have to as well.
Group text via SMS is a PITA. The main reason why I use WhatsApp for certain messaging tasks.
Having Wifi but no phone signal - WhatsApp gets used again.
WhatsApp also lets you see when a message has been received and also when it has been read. Spooky, but useful.
WhatsApp is obviously trying to keep total control, like apple.
This doesn't explain all of their failings here. For example, I'm sure they will eventually find ways to address their control issues and still be usable in other browsers.
They might never do a web interface that runs in iOS, due to apple's own controling approach. Of course there is still the whatsapp iOS app.
The fact that whatsapp stores nothing has little to do with their cease and desist orders. 3rd party clients can still be built on a system that stores nothing.
As for not storing things, that still doesn't require the phone to be logged onto the network. The web client could just be another "device". If you're logged with the web client then the data is pushed to your browser. If you're logged with your phone then the data is pushed to your phone. This hack of making the phone talk to the web client to circumvent the limitation of only a single device per user on the whatsapp network is just silly. Telegram for example allows you to log with many devices and you can remotely disconnect other devices if you want.
We have full IRC clients such as irccloud.com, we have full email web clients such as gmail.com, we have XMPP web clients. The web platform can handle instant messaging. We have desktop notifications as a web api. We have IndexedDB as storage medium. We have websockets as communication layer. There is absolutely no need for the hacks they did.