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Beyond messages: choosing a seat on the plane or ordering food, new WhatsApp features


Highlights: WhatsApp will allow users to book flights, make appointments and more. The service is currently only available in India, but plans to roll it out to more countries. It is not yet clear if the service will be available to the rest of the world. The app is free to use, but users will have to pay a fee to use it. The fee is based on the length of the conversation. It will not be available in all countries, but will be rolled out to those with the most users.

The application will allow companies to offer varied services without the user having to leave the chat

WhatsApp continues its transformation process in the total application. The company will launch "in the coming weeks" new functions aimed at allowing the user to perform actions in the application that go far beyond writing in the chat. For example, choosing a seat on the train, ordering food or booking an appointment or table, all through customizable forms that each company can adapt.

"This gives businesses the ability to create tailored experiences within their own conversations with their customers. For example, a bank can use our templates for its customers to make an appointment to open an account or an airline can offer passengers to check-in and choose a seat from WhatsApp," said Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg during a presentation in Mumbai, India.

The goal is that the user does not leave WhatsApp, that he does more things within the application. "People will be able to make arrangements much faster and more conveniently, without having to jump to other apps or websites to complete their actions," says Zuckerberg. The more time you spend on WhatsApp and the richer the activity you carry out on the application, the better you can sell the paid version to companies.

In the image, reservation of a trip and seat selection without leaving the chat that the user maintains with the company.

The company is also working on a business verification system that, similar to X (formerly Twitter), will display a blue stamp on which they register and prove their authenticity. The goal is to give users more confidence that they are talking to the right interlocutor. That is important to ensure that WhatsApp gradually becomes the application in which we not only speak, but also buy (in the style of the Chinese WeChat).

These developments are accompanied by others related to the WhatsApp payment service, for the moment only available in India, Brazil and Singapore, although Meta wants to take it to more countries in the future, according to company sources.

Since September of this year, the Meta application has launched in 150 countries, including Spain, the dissemination channels of WhatsApp. It is the equivalent of Telegram channels, large distribution lists to which users can subscribe even though sender and receiver do not know each other. The same thing that can be done, for example, in X, where it is common to follow characters or institutions with which you do not interact.

Rumors of advertising in the application

The tycoon did not say anything about the rumor that WhatsApp would be planning to introduce advertising on its instant messaging service. This is what the Financial Times says in a piece published last week, in which it cites internal sources and alludes to the company's need to increase revenue.

"We cannot be responsible for every conversation that each of our workers have, but we are not testing this [the introduction of advertising on WhatsApp], we are not working on it and it is not at all among our plans," Joshua Breckman, spokesman for Meta, told this newspaper.

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Source: elparis

All tech articles on 2023-09-20

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