What you need to know
- Meta has announced that WhatsApp will add free cloud hosting services for businesses.
- The WhatsApp Cloud API is designed to assist businesses in quickly establishing a presence on the messaging app.
- The WhatsApp Business app is also getting two premium features, which are optional for users.
Meta is seeking to make more money from WhatsApp's business users. The tech giant has unveiled the WhatsApp Cloud API, its new cloud hosting services for businesses that run on Meta's infrastructure.
The API is free, meaning businesses and developers can use Meta's secure cloud hosting services to expand their WhatsApp (opens in new tab) presence without spending a dime. Customers, according to Meta, can be up and running in minutes rather than days or weeks.
"Already more than 1 billion users connect with a business account across our messaging services every week," said Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Meta. "They're reaching out for help, to find products and services and to buy anything from big ticket items to everyday goods."
According to Zuckerberg, the API will be available to both large and small businesses worldwide.
It is the cloud-based version of the WhatsApp Business Platform, which first appeared in 2018. Larger companies, such as banks and airlines, use that platform to create custom solutions and provide personalized customer service.
However, businesses have to store their messages by either using an on-premise solution or enlisting the help of third parties. In any case, the server costs are prohibitively expensive.
Meanwhile, in addition to being free of charge, the new cloud hosting service provides customers with immediate access to new WhatsApp features. Furthermore, WhatsApp users will be able to choose which businesses can reach them through the app.
Businesses will also have a couple of options for creating custom experiences for users and responding to their messages more quickly by using one of the best messaging apps (opens in new tab). Meta plans to accomplish this by introducing two new premium features to the WhatsApp Business app.
"Based on feedback from several small businesses that need more powerful tools to manage their chats and run operations beyond just a few people, we’re creating advanced features," Meta said.
The new features include the ability for businesses to manage chats on up to 10 devices and create customizable WhatsApp click-to-chat links.
It's worth noting that the Business app will remain free of charge. The new capabilities are only optional and will be part of Meta's effort to increase revenue streams via the app.
Meta said it will start testing the new features soon. It remains unknown, though, how much they'll cost.
Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.
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