Google’s Duo video chat app gets video- and voicemail

Google’s messaging strategy may still seem chaotic to many, but the basic tenant of how it wants the public to think about Hangouts, Hangouts Meet, Hangouts Chat, Allo and Duo is that Allo/Duo are for consumers and Hangouts Meet/Chat are for business users. Hangouts itself is meant to… actually, I don’t know what it’s meant to be now and I’m not sure Google… Read More

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WhatsApp has launched person-to-person payments into beta in India

 WhatsApp has begun testing a new payments feature in India that will allow people to send money to other WhatsApp users, excluding merchant accounts. The feature is currently in beta, according to sources familiar with the company’s plans, but hasn’t been publicly announced because it’s not widely available at this time. The company has been  working on support for a… Read More

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Why I decided to install Messenger Kids

 I’ve been struggling with whether or not to download Facebook’s new app aimed at children, Messenger Kids, onto my daughter’s iPad. This weekend, I took the plunge. I sat with her as she typed her first message and sent a selfie. I watched as she discovered GIFs. I wasn’t sure I had done the right thing. No one wants to surrender their kids to online social networks,… Read More

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Apple to take on messaging rivals with launch of Business Chat

 Apple is preparing to roll out a new feature in iMessage that will allow consumers to chat directly with businesses through Apple’s messaging platform. The feature, called Business Chat, was announced last year at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, and will debut this spring with launch partners including Discover, Hilton, Lowe’s and Wells Fargo. The feature will… Read More

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Holy moly! Facebook test was nudging me to chat with a church

 Facebook says it’s on a mission to de-bloat its Messenger app this year. At the same time, TechCrunch has discovered, the data-mining giant is running tests on its desktop platform to inject the Messenger “contact pages” of businesses directly into your chat sidebar. Read More

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Korea’s Kakao eyes overseas acquisitions following $1 billion raise

 Korea’s Kakao, the internet giant behind the country’s top messaging app, is actively seeking overseas investment opportunities after it raised $1 billion via a placement. Kakao is valued at over $7 billion and its services are used by more than 40 million people. The company, which counts Tencent as an early investor, now appears to be making good on its long-standing plan to… Read More

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WhatsApp officially launches its app for businesses in select markets

 WhatsApp today officially launched its new WhatsApp Business app in select markets, including Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S., ahead of its planned worldwide rollout. The addition of business profiles and new messaging tools aimed at business customers is part of the company’s broader plan to generate revenue by charging larger enterprises for advanced tools to… Read More

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Hike unbundles its messaging app to reach India’s next wave of smartphone users

 How do you compete with the world’s largest chat app in its strongest market? Hike, the Indian messaging app valued at more than $1 billion, is taking a unique approach to battling WhatsApp which involves dismantling its service, layering it on budget Android phones and offering free connectivity. The company, which is backed by the likes of Tencent and Foxconn, today unveiled… Read More

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Instagram tests letting users post Stories directly to WhatsApp

 Last October, Facebook extended the usage (and flexibility) of Instagram Stories — the Snapchat-like feature that lets you patch together photos and videos into a slide show — by making it easy to directly post a Story to Facebook. Now Facebook is looking at how to bring WhatsApp into the fold. TechCrunch has learned and confirmed that the company is now running a test to let… Read More

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