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TECHNOLOGY

WhatsApp's all-new app is OUT NOW (but here's why you might miss out for now)

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has started to roll-out its all-new chat app, WhatsApp Business, to Android users across the globe.

However, the brand-new messenger is only available in a few markets – and it seems UK fans still have a wait ahead of them.

According to prolific tipster WABetaInfo, a social media account that follows the latest beta releases and news around WhatsApp, claims the new chat app is now live in Brazil and Germany.

Users in those territories can now download WhatsApp Business on Android from the Google Play Store.  

WhatsApp has yet to announce an official launch date for the UK version of the service.

The new messenger is designed to .

Facebook has long looked for ways to monetise WhatsApp after ditching the 69p a year subscription model when it acquired the app back in 2014.

WhatsApp Business enables users to chat with representatives from companies – similar to the small chat windows that appear on the Support pages online.

The new app leverages the success of WhatsApp – the most popular messenger in the world – but has been designed from the ground-up to enable customers and companies to communicate. WhatsApp COO Matt Idema talked about WhatsApp Business to Fox last year.

Idema said: “We want to put a basic foundation in place to allow people to message businesses and for them to get the responses that they want.

“We do intend on charging businesses in the future.”

WhatsApp will support landline numbers for the first time with WhatsApp Business.

That means customers who call or message your landline number will appear within the WhatsApp client.

Since WhatsApp Business is a standalone app, those who run small businesses can keep their current WhatsApp app and conversations intact – and completely separate – from their customers.

It also has two new sections within the Settings menu that you won’t find in the standard version of WhatsApp, Statistics and Business Settings.

The former shows the total of number of messages sent, delivered, read and received, however, more analytics are tipped to roll-out soon.

Business Settings lets users customise their profile page, including adding a webpage for the business, profile picture, and opening hours.

It also lets users set an automated response when customers try to get in touch outside business hours.

According to the official FAQ for the new app, users on the platform will be able to choose from three possible status updates – unconfirmed, confirmed or verified.

Business accounts which have yet to be verified by WhatsApp will have a grey question mark displayed in their profile.

This is probably a good sign that users should be a little wary of the account.

“This account is using the WhatsApp Business app, but hasn’t been confirmed nor verified by WhatsApp,” the company writes of its grey question mark symbol.

The next status tier is confirmed, which is denoted by a grey checkmark on the profile.

“WhatsApp has confirmed that the phone number of this account matches the phone number for this business,” the FAQ clarifies.

These businesses are more likely to be genuine, but WhatsApp is unprepared to guarantee it.

Finally, there are verified accounts, which are emblazoned with a green checkmark.

This is a surefire sign, you’ll conversing with a legitimate business account.

“WhatsApp has verified that an authentic brand owns this account,” the FAQ adds, however, it does not stipulate what additional verification steps are involved in the process.

WhatsApp Business has been in development for over a year.



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