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WhatsApp offers extra convenience with new desktop app for Windows and Mac

If you want to get people to use your messaging app, it helps to have it available in as many ways as possible.

While WhatsApp is already doing pretty darn well having so far attracted more than a billion monthly active users to its messaging platform, it’s certainly not about to rest on its laurels. There are, after all, some six billion more people on the planet who’re not using the service (OK, they’re not all connected yet, but one day…)

Keen to maintain its position as the most used messaging app, the Facebook-owned company on Tuesday announced the launch of a desktop app for Windows 8 and above, and Mac OS X 9 (Mavericks) and above.

The new software mirrors conversations and messages from your WhatsApp smartphone app so you can jump from your handset to your PC – and back again – to easily continue a WhatsApp session.

WhatsApp launched a Web version of its service for PC users early last year. However, as the new app runs natively on your desktop, it has a couple of extra tricks up its sleeve. For example, there’s support for native desktop notifications as well as better keyboard shortcuts.

You can grab WhatsApp for desktop by downloading it from this page. Once loaded, it’s simply a case of opening it and scanning the QR code using the WhatsApp app on your phone to sync your devices (look for the WhatsApp Web menu under Settings).

Related: WhatsApp activates end-to-end encryption for all users

Facebook acquired WhatsApp for a hefty $19 billion just over two years ago, though the app has made hardly any money in its lifetime. CEO Jan Koum has always refused to monetize the service with ads, and earlier this year scrapped its one-off $1 subscription fee. Instead, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has talked about generating revenue by incorporating features into WhatsApp that help businesses connect with customers, a strategy that’s being developed at the current time.