Popular messaging service WhatsApp has today announced its first desktop client for Mac OS X. The launch of a desktop Mac client comes a few months after the Facebook-owned service launched a web interface and a month after it rolled out end-to-end encryption for all communication.

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Much like the web client, the WhatsApp Mac application relies heavily on the mobile version of the communication platform. Much like iMessage between iOS and OS X, WhatsApp keeps all conversations synced across all of your devices. Additionally, because the app is native on OS X, it supports desktop notifications, keyboard shortcuts, and much more.

Today we’re introducing a desktop app so you have a new way to stay in touch anytime and anywhere – whether on your phone or computer at home or work. Like WhatsApp Web, our desktop app is simply an extension of your phone: the app mirrors conversations and messages from your mobile device.

WhatsApp has been growing at an extraordinary pace recently. The service announced that it had more than 1 billion active users earlier this year, up from 700 million a year ago. Last month, WhatsApp announced that all messages, photos, phone calls, and videos sent over its \ app would be encrypted end-to-end. With over 1 billion users, support for truly private conversations is a huge selling point for the service. WhatsApp founder Brian Acton argued at the time that “building secure products actually makes for a safer world.”

With a dedicated Mac client, WhatsApp is now a much more viable alternative to iMessage for users that communicate often with users of other platforms. While OS X supports text message forwarding for communicating with non-iMessage users, the ability to use one central service with end-to-end encryption for communication is tempting for many.

WhatsApp for OS X and Windows is available now from the company’s website. Once you’ve downloaded the client on your desktop, open the app on your smartphone and scan the QR code to sync all of your information between devices.

Do you use WhatsApp? Let us know in the comments.

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