As the world’s most popular communication app, WhatsApp doesn’t need to be the first mover with innovative new features and can simply copy other apps as they introduce updates and upgrades. We have seen the app do this many times, often going beyond the new features offered by other communication apps.
Bringing in a host of updated groups and communities features while also building out a solid offering for businesses to sling their products and services sees WhatsApp able to offer a whole host of features that would have previously been unimaginable on the communication app. Today, we have news of an update coming to WhatsApp that brings it one step close to being an everything app, much like Elon Musk’s project X app that has been in the news recently following his purchase of Twitter. Let’s check out what’s going on.
WhatsApp has released a blog post detailing a new Business Directory feature that is currently being developed in Brazil. The directory will act as a hub for businesses to list what they offer and for ordinary users to quickly and efficiently find the products and services they are looking for:
“Today we’re launching the ability to find a business right on WhatsApp so people can now browse businesses by category – such as travel or banking – or search by the business name. This will save people from having to find phone numbers off websites or type a number into their contacts.”
As well as offering a means for communication between businesses and clients, the blog post also describes a purchases and payments feature that will be built into the update, meaning users will be able to get everything they need without even having to leave the WhatsApp app. If we add to this the news we reported at the end of August, that WhatsApp is working on adding a full-blown shopping experience to the app, enabling users to do their grocery shopping on the app, the scale of WhatsApp’s ambition becomes clear.
Interestingly, there is already a prominent ‘everything app’ in China called WeChat that sits at the heart of most online activities users participate in. With this latest move, it looks like WhatsApp may be calmly and steadily moving in that direction, looking to add more and more services until finally users only need to use other apps for certain optimized services. Where this leaves Elon Musk’s plans to turn Twitter into an everything app, however, is anybody’s guess with the billionaire clearly having a different idea about how to go about creating the app that everybody will use for everything.
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