Facebook debuts WhatsApp desktop apps as Slack adds SSO

If you'd spent $16 billion, you'd be tired of people Slacking off, too

Brace yourself for a new round of panic about consumer IT providing new ways to leak stuff to the outside world, because Facebook has released Mac OS and Windows versions of messaging application WhatsApp.

Facebook slurped WhatsApp back in 2014 for the startling sum of US$16 billion. The service has done just fine since then, gathering many millions more users to top the 400m it reportedly owned at the time of the deal. Facebook's made plenty of noise about integrating Whatsapp with its own Messenger, but hasn't made much progress other than including its prey in the Android version of the Facebook app.

WhatsApp's been usable on the desktop for ages, if you are prepared to employ the web version of the service.

While Facebook's pursued that plan, Slack has become the darling of business messaging thanks in part to mature desktop apps. Today, Slack strode into Facebook's realm by adding the ability to sign on to third-party sites and services using Slack IDs and oAuth 2.0.

Facebook says it's transitioned its business to mobile devices, but given its mission to be the only website you'll ever want to visit can't be entirely happy at ceding ground to Slack on any platform, or having Slack compete with it in SSO. Not when that US$16bn still needs to show a return.

Intriguingly, the Mac OS version of the WhatsApp desktop app assumes you're already a user: on startup it prompts you to grab a mobile device running WhatsApp to scan a QR code and arrange swift login.

Whatever Facebook's reasons for the release of the apps, your colleagues will doubtless install them soon. And start chatting from work about whatever it is one chats about on WhatsApp. Or start asking you how to add WhatsApp as another customer service channel, given its colossal user base. Which means you'll need to secure it. And hope Facebook doesn't go changing APIs every few days.

Good luck! ®

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