Review and Set up of WhatsApp Chrome Extension on Chrome OS

Published by Lamin Kanteh on

Whatsapp Logo

The introduction of Android Apps to Google’s Chrome operating system which was met with huge fanfare from every corner of the Chrome universe, was an expected logical move.

Chrome OS, at that time was overly reliant on web apps and despite their best efforts, web apps do not comport to the same functions as their mobile counterparts.

Taking in Android apps was an effortless transition for Chrome OS, since touch-based Chromebooks were already a norm and the operating system already has all the ingredients required to run them.

Even though the catalog of apps that could run on Chrome devices is huge, not every app that is being served in the Play Store was designed work flawlessly on non-smartphone devices and under this category, unfortunately, is where one of the world’s most popular messaging app WhatsApp falls under.

A Little History Lesson

Initially, an App Store exclusive app and the brainchild of two Ex Yahoo! employees, WhatsApp’s rapid growth can be credited primarily to the fact that SMS messaging platform was slowly demising in popularity while VOIP were taking off.

WhatsApp started off as a free messaging client that later evolved to a subscription-based service where users were charged 99 cents to access its features. The service allows users to send and receive text messages, audio and videos files, make and receive voice and video calls as well as create group chats with up to 256 members.

During its initial launch on the App Store, the platform was free but a subscription model was later introduced to mitigate a situation where it grew beyond the capabilities of the developers at that time.

Now boasting a user base of a billion plus and handling over 10 billion messages per day while flying the Facebook colors, WhatsApp is one of the largest messaging platforms around the world.

Availability On Chromebooks

As the emphasis in our opening paragraph, despite Play Store apps being readily available for Chromebooks, there are some apps like WhatsApp whose user experience predominantly focused on handheld devices had personal computers as an afterthought.

At the moment, to access WhatsApp on your Chrome OS device, you either need to use the web interface or download a Chrome extension plugin.

Both instances mirror your conversations on your device and have them displayed on through either instance. The means, either device — phone and computer — will need to continuously stay connected to the internet for the duration of your session.

Personally, I will recommend using the Chrome Extension over the web interface since they both function in similar fashion, but the extension offers more convenience over its web-based counterpart.

Note: The Desktop Messenger for WhatsApp Chrome extension isn’t an official offering from WhatsApp Inc. This is unofficial application that is developed and maintained independedly.


  • Instant messaging
  • Group Chats
  • Send files images, audio, and video files located anywhere on your Chromebook
  • View or add statues like you would on your smartphone

How To Get WhatsApp Chrome Extension

Getting the Chrome extension for WhatsApp is pretty straight. You won’t budge down by long searches on the internet to find what you need. Just heading over to the Chrome web Store and hitting the download button will have it onto your system in no time.

Since Whatsapp can only be tethered to one account per device, you are not necessarily setting a new account with the extension but instead, you’re practically just cloning what is on your phone and having it displayed on your Chromebook.

To set it up, follow these simple steps

  • Fire up the Whatsapp extension by clicking on it — probably at the tail end of the search bar on your Chrome browser.
  • When prompted with a QR code, use the QR scanner within WhatsApp to scan it.
  • To scan the QR code, open WhatsApp on your phone — Go to  Chats screen > Menu > WhatsApp Web
  • Scan the QR code on your computer screen with your phone.
  • Voila! The conversations your phone should show up.


Having the Whatsapp Chrome extension means you don’t have to touch your phone every time a new message arrives. This could be quite useful if you spend huge chunks of your time on your laptop.

The extension also means you won’t have to scramble through opened to tabs to find the tab which can be time consuming should you have several tabs open.


The extension, like its web counterpart, is limited compared to the Android version of the service; there are some features that are omitted like voice and video calling.

The extension isn’t adding the device to a list on your Whatsapp account like we’ve seen other platforms do even though Whatsapp supports cloud-based services like saving messages and media in Google Drive.


Whatsapp on Chrome OS might not be as rich as it is on Android, but the extension — designed to be a substitute — is a better alternative to other options out there.

Lamin Kanteh

I live, breath, and dream technology. I've only known myself to push the boundaries on what's possible in my mental scope in relation to technology. And having been a writer for the good part of the past three years (covering varying subjects on the major mobile platforms), No place has ever felt more like home than Chrome OS. And as you may know, Chrome OS is ushering us into a future of the unknown and I'm here to help in the process of easing the way into that future via ItsChromeOS.

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