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According to a new report by Reuters, Facebook-owned WhatsApp is trialing a service that will allow businesses to talk directly to users on the service.
The project was “seen” by Reuters, and is believed to be used by a “handful of companies” from the Y Combinator startup incubator.
While the nature of the service isn’t yet fully understood, the report believes that this will allow Facebook to finally use WhatsApp as a revenue tool. Be it advertising revenue by allowing companies to send select users messages, or simply provide ads within content rolls like Status — much like what Facebook’s Instagram Stories achieves.
WhatsApp was bought by Facebook in 2014 for a cool US$19-billion, but the service hasn’t yet been monitised effectively, at least when compared to Instagram. The instant messaging service does however boast a remarkably large user base in excess of a billion users, much larger than its image-centric cousin.
The app has also added a number of features to its repertoire of late, including the aforementioned WhatsApp Status system and a two-step verification service. A location tracking service is also reportedly in the works.