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WhatsApp reinvents the ‘Yellow Pages’

WhatsApp is one of the most used chat apps across the world with more than 2 billion monthly active users, and Facebook owns it. Till now, the social network hasn’t pushed too many ‘Facebook‘ features on this app.

But that’s changing with a new feature company’s testing: business directory. The firm is testing this ‘Yellow pages’ like feature beginning in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

WhatsApp’s head, Will Cathcart, announced this feature and said “we’ve built this in a private way.” He claims that the company won’t log your location or the businesses you’re searching for. If you live in Sao Paulo, you’ll be able to search for local shops using WhatsApp Business through the ‘Businesses Nearby’ menu in the new chat option.

For years, Facebook and Instagram have been trying to connect you to businesses and make your shop through their platforms. While the WhatsApp Business app has been around, you couldn’t really search for businesses using the app, unless you’ve interacted with them previously.

WhatsApp already offers payment services in Brazil. So it makes sense for it to provide discovery services for local businesses, so you can shop for goods in person, and pay through the platform.

The chat app doesn’t have any ads, unlike Facebook and Instagram, so business interactions and transactions are one of the biggest ways for Facebook to earn some moolah out of it. In June, the company integrated its Shops feature in WhatsApp. So, we can expect more business-facing features in near future.

Matt Idema, Facebook’s vice president of business messaging, told Reuters that while the program is taking off in Brazil, India and Indonesia are the perfect next candidates for expansion.

Peter Kivuti
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