By Kate Samuelson
January 19, 2018

Instant messaging service WhatsApp has officially launched WhatsApp Business, a separate app that small businesses can use to connect with their customers.

The free-to-download Android app allows businesses to quickly respond to customers as well as provide them with away messages, letting them know when the business is busy. It also allows businesses to review simple metrics, such as the number of messages sent by their company that have actually been read, according to the company.

Businesses using WhatsApp Business can connect with ordinary WhatsApp users as normal, as there’s no need for ordinary WhatsAppers to download the separate app, the company said. WhatsApp users will know when they are being contacted by a business rather than an individual, as it will be listed as a business account.

Over time, some businesses will have confirmed accounts once it has been confirmed that the account phone number matches the business phone number, a blog post from WhatsApp explains.

The new app is available to download from today in the U.S. as well as the U.K., Italy, Mexico and Indonesia. It will roll out around the world over the next few weeks.

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