You're probably going to need to deal with the WhatsApp legal team very soon. I recall several HN threads discussing various shutdowns of 3rd party WhatsApp-based services. One example which came from a quick search was: https://github.com/venomous0x/WhatsAPI
And for good reason. Remember that trademarks are a consumer protection policy to avoid confusion. I was certainly confused at first. If it wasn't for the "Show HN" on the title, I might still be confused. The product name is "WhatsApp for Desktop", the page includes links back to whatsapp.com for the user to find more information, pictures copied directly from whatsapp.com (itself a fairly obvious copyright violation), and the file that's downloaded is called WhatsAppSetup.exe.
It is quite reasonable to think that someone could think this was official, easily missing the fine print that clarifies.
I strongly suggest anyone releasing software on the internet familiarize themselves with the relevant laws on trademark and copyright so they can avoid mistakes like this. There is no way this could stand up to legal scrutiny. Naming your product AnotherCompany PrepositionalPhrase is not something which presents an interesting legal debate, it's an amateur mistake.
I am not a lawyer. This comment is not legal advice.
My advice to the author would be to take the website down, change the domain,repostory binary name. There is no realistic scenario where this (as it is) survives thismonth.
So it shouldn't be "Whatsapp" for something. But "Something" for Whatsapp. I'm not entirely sure if that avoids all the legal issues or whether it was just something Reddit itself was willing to compromise on in the case of "Relay for Reddit", but at least you should start with that kind of default rather than shamelessly using other company's product name as if it was your own.
I think others who have used Google's name or other product names in their own Chrome extensions have taken a similar path. Like how "Gmail Checker Plus" (or something) became "Checker Plus For Gmail" .
 - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=free.reddit.ne...
 - http://jasonsavard.com/checkerPlusForGmail
Much older examples include "Plume for Twitter" and "FriendCaster for Facebook". In the case of the former, it was by agreement with Twitter: Plume used to be called Touiteur until Twitter made them change it.
You're seeing it more lately because Google recently changed the Play Store's app naming policy to forbid using the name of an existing service as part of your app's main brand, only allowing a special clause (e.g. "for [Service]") following the main brand. Also, around the same time, reddit changed their API policy to add a similar requirement.
In the long run, it's going to be beneficial for app developers because now they can take their name and use it for apps across multiple services. For example, the developers of Plume could create a "Plume for Facebook" app and so on, so they end up with a whole family of Plume apps, each one for a different social network.
I've been using a similar wrapper for whatsapp web that I built myself with nw.js, but I didn't upload it to github because of obvious reasons (see WhatsAPI case...)
I don't see why so many popular mobile apps seem to refuse to have web-versions for use on other platforms. Even if it's less functional.
For building a webview wrapper with nw.js? It cost me 5 mins to build mine... It's an "app" that will never leave my desktop and I still give Jan Koum credit in the About section... xD
Let's hope the WhatsApp team won't be too harsh with the guy. Clearly it's been an ingenuous move by a young dev. Hopefully they'll come to terms just taking it down or renaming completely the project.
Having something with missing functionality and/or bugs isn't always better than having nothing if you look at it from a marketing perspective. I agree that hiring someone talented who seems to like your brand to work on their extensions of your product would usually be a good investment, just not always.
Now all they did is make themselves a target for legal action, because they're using the whatsapp trademark on the domain name and spent a load of time doing basically nothing.
Adults, on the other hand, should come to an informed decision by weighing the pros and cons.
Seems he is based in Romania, so we'll see what Facebook's/WhatsApp's reaches are I suppose.
FYI Romania is a member state of the EU.
Slowly this is changing. But its a bleak picture for towns with no partner. Our church partnered with a village there, sold their crafts at an auction here to pay for a school building, books, old folks support, even a tractor. They were the only village in the area to get all their fields planted that year.
This kind of partnership helps bootstrap folks. I don't think of it as charity. More like investment. Returns aren't in cash but still very real.
Yeah, while I'm against services going after third-party client developers 99% of the time, this isn't one of them. I hope he gets nailed to the wall for this, because he's creating actual confusion, which is the very purpose of trademark law.
This is a mean spirited wish. What would you have him/her do? Why not hope Facebook brings him/her on board since they are solving a problem FB is not addressing currently?
Choose a name and icon that make it clear his client is a third-party product.
By the way I did not downvote you.
Now that's a completely reasonable reaction. Do you not think the author might read this? What if you released something you thought was harmless and people start asking for you to be crucified
Do you know how I should contact Facebook to discuss these legal problems? I can't find any way to contact them, and the help center isn't helpful at all.
I wonder at what size Facebook begin to care..
If yes, what's the advantage over opening a browser tab ?
Does it worth it ? (not a regular whatsapp-web user).
I didn't realise using the official logo, their colours and the name was so bad. I emailed WhatsApp to discuss it and I hope we'll come to an agreement. Whatever we get to, I'm willing to rename the app and use another domain to keep the app alive.
The app is just a wrapper around web.whatsapp.com which runs on top of NW.js. What I did is make the notifications work, I added custom themes (will be available in the next release) and some minor tweaks to improve integration with the OS.
The app doesn't work on iOS due to some operating system limitations. I think WhatsApp is working on it.
Thanks for the support and the naming idea.
This is just not OK: there are so many other ways you could have played this; you didn't, in fact, need to use the name "WhatsApp" at all, and if you really wanted to have the greatest chance of success, that's what you should have done... you should name this thing "AluxMate" or something, and then have the body text of the website talk about how you've built a beautiful desktop client for WhatsApp. This is especially true given that you seem to have also built a Facebook Messenger client: it is actually not only harming these companies when you use these brands, it is harming your own project, because what you really should be doing is giving yourself a separate identity and purpose; the new "AluxMate" brand that you build, a brand that people can come to associate with you, could even be a unified desktop client for all of these normally-browser-only messaging services, and people might start talking about how awesome AluxMate is and how everyone should use it, or asking for AluxMate support for whatever new service is the new hotness... something that--and this is a direct outcome of stealing someone else's brand identity--can't happen if people are trying to say "you should use WhatsApp for Desktop!"... people are just going to go to the website for WhatsApp to try to download that, because that's what the name "WhatsApp for Desktop" signifies :/. That also totally divorces trademarks from the situation, which means that even if they don't happen to like you building a desktop client for their service, you aren't really to blame for people using your client.
I'm going to change the name of the app asap. I'll also make it clearer it's an unofficial app. What else do you think I should do?
Do you have the same thoughts about http://messengerfordesktop.com/? Should I rename that app too?
Yes, in my semi-informed, non-lawyer opinion, you should change the name and remove all references to the FB Messenger icon. I don't think Facebook has a word mark on "Messenger", from a quick USPTO search, but using the name makes it harder to defend your use of trademarks like this one within the app: http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4806:9la...
The link seems to have expired, can you please post another one?
I got sort of used to the chrome extension, but that uses to much screen space. I want an app that takes advantage of the notification system built into OSX.
These sort of wrappers (like op's app) get really close to native apps (in terms of ui/ux).
One suggestion though, I definitely prefer 1 single app to catch all my IMs, like adium on Mac... I'd definitely prefer to have a single app for both whatsapp and messenger, or even better 2 plugins for adium.
Credit to WhatsApp for building an excellent webapp, and credit to the author for wrapping everything up to tie in with the desktop.
I would say there's definitely a benefit to have it as a separate hybrid app, rather than just loading the web-page. You can launch it directly, set it to run at start-up if you want, have a meaningful dock icon, notifications, etc.
Clearly, in general you'd prefer a native application, but this is definitely useful.
BTW, you should release some generic binary tarballs, those debs work just fine on CentOS/Fedora if you unpack them.
No notifications/tray icon in MATE though.