The meta-owned instant messaging app, WhatsApp is introducing free cloud-based Application Programming Interface (API) services in a push to get more businesses using the app, Meta Platforms CEO Mr. Mark Zuckerberg said.
WhatsApp which has increasingly courted business users is one of several platforms where Facebook-owner Meta has launched more shopping and business-focused features dedicated to developers and partners interested in building better and faster experiences.
WhatsApp, which was acquired by Meta for $19 billion in a landmark 2014 deal, already has an API for businesses to connect their systems and engage in customer service chats on the service, which was the first revenue-generating enterprise product for Meta. It also said that it was planning to provide optional paid features as part of a new premium service for users of its specialized business app, which is geared at small businesses.
“The best business experiences meet people where they are. Already more than 1 billion users connect with a business account across our messaging services every week. They’re reaching out for help, to find products and services, and to buy anything from big-ticket items to everyday goods. And today, I am excited to announce that we’re opening WhatsApp to any business of any size around the world with WhatsApp Cloud API.”
The latest features, which are still being developed, will include options to manage chats across up to 10 devices and customized click-to-chat links that businesses can post on their websites and share with customers.
Thousands of companies, including Vodafone, Coppel, Sears Mexico, BMW, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Iberia Airlines, Itau Brazil, iFood, Bank Mandiri, and others, are using the non-cloud version of the Business API as of late last year data. The API’s on-premise version is free to use.