What is Chat API?

Chat API is an application programming interface that provides access to a server infrastructure with full features, scalability, and stability needed for real-time chat and messaging.

What can you do with Chat API?

Since a Chat API is only as important as the service it provides you, it might be more appropriate to ask, "What can a Chat API do for me and my company?" Although a Chat API embraces countless use cases, it essentially allows you to implement live (sometimes asynchronous) chat and messaging within your own mobile application, website, game, or other services. Many new channels of communication become possible:

  • User <> User
    • The most familiar form of online chat between users in a game, dating-app, collaboration app (e.g. Slack), and messenger app.
  • Marketplace <> Seller <> Buyer
    • Communication on an e-commerce platform between the platform, buyer, and seller.
  • Service Provider <> User
    • Communication between a service provider (actual provider or the company) and a user (customer) at a financial institution, healthcare provider, ride hailing service, or any other on-demand service provider communication.
  • Broadcaster <> Audience
    • Communication between the audience amongst each other and the broadcaster.

Since there are no issues with scaling from two users to millions of audiences, the sky's the limit (check out our in-app chat use cases guide).

What should Chat API provide?

There are some basic features that should be provided by a chat API. Those basic features ought to include:

  • One-on-one messaging / group messaging / open channels
  • Cross-platform sync
  • File & custom-data transfers
  • Chat history
  • Push notifications
  • Webhooks
  • Read receipt / delivery status / typing indicators
  • Profanity filters / user blocking
  • Analytics
  • Online/offline status

Most likely, there will be advanced features including:

  • Message retrieval API / data export API
  • Moderation tools
  • Auto-thumbnail generation
  • AI / chatbot interface
  • Spam flood protection
  • File encryption
  • Announcement API / admin messaging
  • Auto-partitioning / smart throttling
  • Auto-translation

Most chat APIs would be compatible with voice and video API too so that you could add on voice and video chat provided by other API providers.

For a more specific guide on picking the right chat API for you, check out our guide on finding the perfect chat API for your needs.

Going forward...

We would be thrilled to sharpen our collective knowledge and further improve what we define Chat API to be. All thoughts and comments will be deeply appreciated, please share your thought with us!

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