WhatsApp launches Android app for business accounts

After a small pilot test, WhatsApp Business for Android is now available for SMBs to manage their presence on Facebook's messaging platform.

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WhatsApp on Thursday released WhatsApp Business for Android, a free-to-download app for small businesses to respond to customers and manage a presence on the messaging platform.

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With the app, business users are able to manage business profiles to provide customers with useful information like a description or store address. Businesses also have access to messaging tools like quick replies to rapidly answer common questions and the ability to create greeting messages to introduce customers to their business.

Businesses in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the UK, and the US can now download the app from the Google Play Store for free. The app was previously available in a limited pilot.

WhatsApp plans to expand the Business app's availability worldwide in the coming weeks, it explained in a blog post. In an interview with Reuters, WhatsApp COO Matt Idema said the company is planning an iPhone version as well.

Businesses on WhatsApp also get a verified badge to display on their profile, messaging statistics, and desktop access.

WhatsApp, a company Facebook acquired in 2014, said 1.3 billion users are now on its messaging platform. With no plans to bring advertisements to WhatsApp, business subscriptions could be an eventual way for Facebook to garner revenue from the app.