WhatsApp officially launched the 'WhatsApp Business App' that is built for small businesses who use the platform on Thursday. This launch is the Facebook-owned entity's first major step towards monetising a section of its over 1.3 billion active user base. The app has been launched on Google Play in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the UK and the US on Thursday, and will be coming to India and other parts of the world in next few weeks. An iPhone version is also reportedly in the works. How does it work? The free app (free for now) helps companies connect with their customers and establish an official presence on WhatsApp. Business accounts will be able to set up automatic replies, see statistics about their messaging and set up a profile page with information like information such as address, business hours, and description of product or service offered within hours of operation. Essentially it is similar to a business' Facebook page but on WhatsApp. The company had previously announced the app’s arrival and begun verifying business accounts as part of its WhatsApp Business pilot program back in September 2017. Just like Twitter and Facebook verified accounts were given a checkmark next to their name. A report on The Next Web quotes a WhatsApp spokesperson saying, the current feature set will remain free in the long term, but WhatsApp plans on charging for additional capabilities in the future. The company is essentially aiming for a freemium model, with free users getting a significant amount of features. In an…
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