China’s top mobile messaging platform, with 600 million users and counting, added some very Evernote-like functionality in an update Thursday that allows users to save and share “rich-media” clips in the cloud.
Whereas before users could only save individual photos, bits of text, or a URL as “favorites” to be accessed later, now they can create what are essentially Evernote-style clips. This includes audio, images, URLs, music, video, location, tags, and of course text, all in one clip.
Favorites can then be shared via instant messages with friends, but not to WeChat’s Moments feed. For those unfamiliar with the app, the Moments feed is essentially like Facebook’s news feed where users can share public updates to their social network.
Above: A collage of screens from WeChat’s iOS update. VentureBeat / Michael de Waal-Montgomery
If a user likes the favorite they have received through a chat, they can then favorite it themselves and send it on to their friends.
But by keeping this as more of a walled-in experience (i.e. the favorites are not shared publicly to the Moments feed), it seems that the potential for content created this way to go viral is much smaller.
That said, I could imagine scenarios whereby favorites created by celebrities (or other notable WeChat users) become much sought-after, precisely because it’s a content category that is shared exclusively from friend to friend and therefore not available to just anyone.
While a Tencent spokesperson wanted to make clear that it’s not looking to compete directly with apps like Evernote, it’s by now well known that WeChat has grand ambitions to be much more than a chat platform.
I’m just not sure whether Evernote is watching this move and laughing — or actually taking it quite seriously in terms of what it may hint at for the future evolution of WeChat and its hundreds of millions of users (who are no longer only in China).