Google Launches Its First WeChat Mini Program
WeChat is far more than a messaging app in China and is growing closer to almost dominate the mobile web in the country. From buying a plane ticket to having food delivered to their doorstep, WeChat users are using the application for everything thanks to its offline utility.
The company operating WeChat, Tencent, has also included some mini programs making it to further operate effectively like the apps that are attached to the service allowing the users to download them from WeChat without having the need to use Google Play or the App Store.
This year, Tencent has also included support to some mini games to the application and the Chinese firm confirmed that over a million mini programs have been included to date. With around 500 million users interacting with at least one program every month, the user engagement seems to be very high.
The app has become somewhat a key distribution channel in China prompting Google to introduce its first mini program which is actually a game that is much similar to Guess My Sketch. Upon registering, users will be given a QR code that needs to be scanned to get into the game. The new app looks like a take on Draw Something game by Zinga where the users team up to guess what the other player is drawing.
But to make it more interesting, Google has further included the possibility to allow the users to team up with AI and then battle against their friends and their AIs. However, the main focus of the news is not on the game but the message that Google has embraced mini programs to counter with other programs that pose a threat to its Playstore.
Google has also introduced Chines version of Files Go app partnering with some third-party apps in China to further its distribution which makes it clear that the tech giant is playing by the local rules to get into the market. While the drawing game is just a small part of Google’s strategy, it might prompt to introduce more such apps and services through WeChat in the near future.
Google has also made notable investments in Tencent’s close ally JD.Com and also made some deals together with the biotech start-up XtalPi.