WhatsApp begins testing the in-app business directory

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WhatsApp on Wednesday launched a new feature that allows users to search for businesses in the app for the first time, according to Reuters and The Verge.

The test, which allows WhatsApp users in São Paulo, Brazil, to find stores and services through an app directory, is the latest feature in Facebook’s push to boost e-commerce on its services.

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“We’re building modern yellow pages in WhatsApp where you can search and contact local businesses right in the app. Launch in São Paulo today and hopefully other locations soon,” said Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, from his Facebook profile on Wednesday.

Thousands of businesses in categories such as food, retail and local services will be included in the new test, according to WhatsApp, which will take place in some areas of So Paulo, reports Reuters.

While the Facebook-owned messaging service is best known for its person-to-person messaging, e-commerce has become a bigger part of its offering in recent years. According to WhatsApp, more than 175 million people used the service every day to send a message to a WhatsApp business account last October.

WhatsApp has had a standalone small business app since 2018, and it has since been updated to include features like product catalogs and shopping carts. It has also started offering integrated payments in Brazil and India, allowing users to make purchases directly from businesses and send money to friends and family.

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