WhatsApp is rumoured to be testing a business chat feature that would let companies talk directly to WhatsApp users for the first time.
That's according to Reuters, which reports that WhatsApp is testing the feature with a handful of companies that are part of the Y Combinator startup incubator.
The trial is still in the "early stages", according to Reuters, which spoke to one of the companies involved in testing the feature.
Cowlar, a startup that makes collars for dairy cows in order collecting data on their activity and recommending changes to improve milk yield, said wants to use WhatsApp to send automatic alerts from the collars directly to farmers.
Y Combinator President Sam Altman told Reuters that he was not aware of the trial, but added: "We do generally see a lot of companies wanting to test their products with YC cos."
Adding weight to the report, Mashable recently reported that the firm was testing a new version of the app called 'WhatsApp for Business', which will let "help enterprises with 10 employees or less to manage their clients better."
The report says that the feature will see a pilot launch in India, before rolling out to other countries.
While WhatsApp declined to comment on the report, the firm has previously suggested that such functionality would be coming to the app as it looks to start making money again.
Back in the day, the firm used to charge a 69p per year membership fee but abandoned this a couple of yeas after being acquired by Facebook. At the time, WhatsApp said it would explore the idea of letting users communicate with businesses in a bid to monetise the service.
What's more, Facebook has long been testing similar functionality within its own Messenger platform by allowing businesses to use bots to interact with customers, so it's likely the firm is keen to bring similar functionality to WhatsApp and its one billion-plus users.
Are you paying attention?
Private equity firm Permira only acquired Magento from eBay for $200m three years ago
Before robots can take over from humans, we need more humans
It's not easy not being evil