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article imageAmazon building its own WhatsApp rival called 'Anytime'

By James Walker     Jul 17, 2017 in Technology
Amazon is reportedly planning a new messaging app that will see it enter direct competition with Facebook. The company's said to be planning a robust bot platform for the app that will let you order food, listen to music and chat with businesses.
Under development as "Anytime," Amazon's rumoured take on messaging sounds rather similar to Facebook's 1.2-billion users Messenger app. First reported by AFTVNews, Anytime is said to be an "all-in-one feature rich service" that supports group chats, photo filter effects and voice and video calls.
The app will also come with features to "rival social networks." While the report doesn’t go into details, it sounds like Amazon's planning something similar to Snapchat Stories. The carousel of ephemeral selfies and photos from the past 24-hours has become a staple of messaging apps over the past year so it's likely Anytime will come with its own interpretation.
There's no target audience mentioned but the feature list suggests Amazon will be going after young users who socialise in groups. Amazon is far from the only tech company interested in this demographic. Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat and now even Skype are all vying to have younger web users communicate regularly on their platform.
The report suggests that automation and bot functionality could play a key role in Anytime. Apps like Messenger and Skype already support bot ecosystems so Amazon won't be the first in the field. However, putting bots at the forefront of the app could encourage users to adopt them more willingly than on other platforms. Out of the gate, a wide range of third-party integrations will be offered.
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According to AFTVNews, users will be able to directly contact businesses, make reservations from chat threads, order food and start listening to music. There'll also be support for games, splitting bills with group participants and interactive media sharing. None of this is unique to Anytime though – business communications and food ordering are already a focus of Messenger's bot platform.
Anytime is thought to be part of a wider Amazon effort to establish its brand outside of retail. It wants to shift towards presenting itself as an ambitious tech company, capable of producing its own successful hardware and services. Its Echo family of smart home products is seeing strong sales and there's rumblings that a return to smartphones could be imminent.
Launching its own fully-fledged messaging service would enable Amazon to round off its ecosystem of consumer tech products. The company's only comparable existing service is Twitch, the gaming-focused livestreaming site acquired by Amazon in 2014. It's not clear when or even if Anytime will be ready for a public launch. Amazon may choose to cancel the service or save it for use with future hardware.
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