A report from the online publication AFTVNews is claiming that a retail giant, Amazon, is developing its own messaging app. This will be called Anytime by Amazon, and right now, the company is conducting a survey to a select set of smartphone users to know more about their desired features in a messaging application. However, AFTVNews claims that the survey is constructed in a manner that implies the near-completion of the application. This is not the first time that the retail giant has released a messaging app, but this is the first one that is targeted towards consumers in general.
Amazon’s entry into the ultra-competitive smartphone messaging market may confuse some users, but the business model of other messaging applications may shed light on why the retail giant is interested in the said market. Some of the most popular messaging services earn money in two ways, either by advertising or by facilitating transactions. Facebook went with the former to monetize its Messenger platform, with the social media giant incorporating advertisements to the user’s home screen. Meanwhile, other popular messaging applications like LINE and WeChat chose instead to facilitate certain transactions to earn money. These transactions often include retail purchases, from which the messaging services will then receive a sum of money once a purchase is accomplished. Amazon seems to follow the latter method with its Anytime app, with the retail giant incorporating features that will make purchases safer. Among the new features include encryption for messages that contain sensitive information like bank account details. Aside from shopping, the app is also designed to allow users to speak directly with business and make reservations through the messaging service.
Despite the talk about the commerce-focused aspect for the application, it is still a messaging app and Amazon ensured that it will function well as one. The retail giant included a feature that will allow app users to simply type the person’s name in order to start a conversation. The process on how it will work is not yet known but it is likely that Amazon already inked deals with other social networks and messaging services to make this possible. Group photo sharing and video calls, on the other hand, are handled by the @mentions function of the Anytime app. Given the information provided by AFTVNews, it is likely that the app will be released soon.