by Graham Pierrepoint
Amazon – one of the first websites to go live to the public and once known purely as an online bookseller – has grown considerably in recent years. The firm has not only provided a rival streaming library to Netflix, but has also engineered virtual assistants in the form of their Echo devices – as well as a TV streaming service, Amazon Fire, and a hugely popular grocery and speedy delivery service under Amazon Prime. So where to go next? Bizarrely – it seems that instant messaging is on their radar, and in a big way.
Amazon Anytime is proposed as an app which will roll several messaging functions into one platform, aiming to take on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram in one fell swoop. It’s thought that the firm have been approaching members of the public for their input on what could go into making the perfect messenger app – and, as a result, it seems that Amazon are keen to take on just about all of the popular micro-blogging and social messenger apps on at once. It’s certainly a brave proposal.
It’s thought that the service will be media-rich, allowing users to submit videos, photo content and to tag each other and play games in groups. It’s also thought that you’ll be able to search for people on name alone, revolutionizing the way we connect with each other. Certainly, it seems that Amazon intend to put the rather old-school method of saving and keeping phone numbers – remember those? – out to pasture. There has been no official word or reveal from Amazon as to when or even if the service will go live – but the fact that it is in the pipeline at all suggests that we are far from seeing the end of the messenger craze.
Messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Snapchat have taken communication back to a simpler level. While millions will have been restricted to limited SMS and MMS messaging in recent history, it is only in the past 5-10 years that users have found themselves able to message each other almost limitlessly through online services such as Facebook Messenger. It harkens back to the age of MSN Messenger – remember that? – where users connected to each other via PC online. The days of MSN are over, with Skype having taken over Microsoft’s slice of the messaging pie – and with Amazon set to join the party, it will be interesting to see quite where our communication goes from here.