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There’s a brand new official version of WhatsApp, but it won’t be replacing the current green-icon messenger you know and love.
Instead, the Facebook-owned service has today launched WhatsApp Business — an app that “will make it easier for companies to connect with customers” and can be installed alongside the default app.
The reason for a distinct business app is simple. The messaging service claims in a blog post that the original app — now harbouring over 1.3-billion users — “was built for people” and not companies.
WhatsApp Business largely addresses these issues, giving companies more room in their profiles to include contact info, description and location details; and messaging tools, like quick replies and analytics.
WhatsApp will also distinguish “business” accounts from personal accounts on the default app.
“Over time, some businesses will have Confirmed Accounts once it’s been confirmed that the account phone number matches the business phone number,” the company confirmed.
Ultimately, the default won’t change, and functionality of the service as a whole won’t either. Users will still be allowed to block businesses and report spam. But the company hasn’t clarified how businesses will be allowed to contact users in the first place.
The app isn’t yet available in South Africa, but is now live in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and United States.