You would only need a name to reach out to someone, for one thing — no WhatsApp-style dependence on phone numbers here. You only have to use Twitter-style @ mentions to bring people into conversations or share photos, and you can color-code chats to identify the most important ones. Naturally, there are app-like functions (such as group music listening and food ordering) and promises of chatting with businesses for shopping or customer service.

We’ve asked Amazon for comment. Provided the scoop is accurate, though, Anytime wouldn’t be coming out of the blue. Amazon is already diving into communications between Echo calling support and business videoconferencing — it wouldn’t be a stretch to add text-based messaging to the mix. A chat app would give Amazon another way to bring people into its fold, and could serve as a sales hook for Amazon gadgets (say, sending and receiving messages through your Echo). Anytime might not keep Facebook execs awake at night anytime soon, but it could be an advantage if it catches on in the long run.