Meta Doubles Down On Messaging, Expands WhatsApp Business Features

In an effort to double down on the increasing promise of messaging to drive business, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced new updates at the first WhatsApp Business Summit in Brazil that will invite WhatsApp users to search for businesses and make payments directly in the app.

Since 2009, WhatsApp has become the most popular social-messaging app in the world, increasing its monthly active users from 1 billion to 2 billion, with 100 billion messages sent daily across the globe.

WhatsApp Business makes it relatively simple for small businesses to communicate directly with customers when selling products and services. In May, the company launched its new version of Business API, its original revenue-generating enterprise product hosted on Meta’s infrastructure.

Meta's newest updates will allow users in Brazil, Indonesia, Colombia and the UK to utilize the messaging app’s dedicated search function to find specific businesses, or businesses under a specific category. Other features include category filters, verified business statuses, and a map that will allow users to peruse nearby businesses.

In a recent statement, Meta claimed that business search is built to respect people's privacy. “What you search for is processed in a way that cannot be linked back to your account,” the company said.

Brazil is home to 150 million WhatsApp users, the largest user market outside of Asia, in which 550 million Indian consumers alone use the app.

The social giant also announced an expansion of WhatsApp payments.

“Ultimately we want people to be able to make a secure payment right from a chat with their credit or debit card,” the company said. “We recently launched this experience in India, and we’re excited to now be testing this in Brazil with multiple payment partners," adding that this will be valuable "for people and businesses looking to buy and sell on WhatsApp without having to go to a website, open another app or pay in person.”

Faced with a round of massive layoffs, hundreds of billions in lost revenue, and difficulty convincing the public to sign onto the company's long-term metaverse vision, Zuckerberg recently announced that WhatsApp and Messenger, not the metaverse, will drive upcoming sales growth at the company.

“We talk a lot about the very long-term opportunities like the metaverse, but the reality is that business messaging is probably going to be the next major pillar of our business as we work to monetize WhatsApp and Messenger more,” Zuckerberg said.

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