WhatsApp reinvents the “yellow pages” and proves there are no new ideas

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WhatsApp is one of the most used chat apps in the world with over 2 billion monthly active users, and Facebook owns it. So far, the social network has not pushed too many ‘Facebook’ features on this app.

But that changes with the testing of a new feature of the company: the business directory. The company is testing this “yellow pages” feature out of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

WhatsApp Chief Will Cathcart announced this feature and said “we built it privately. It claims that the company will not register your location or the companies you are looking for. If you live in Sao Paulo, you will be able to search for local stores using WhatsApp Business through the ‘Nearby businesses’ menu in the new chat option.

For years, Facebook and Instagram have been trying to connect with businesses and build your store through their platforms. While the WhatsApp Business app does exist, you couldn’t really search for companies using the app unless you’ve interacted with them before.

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

The chat app doesn’t have any ads, unlike Facebook and Instagram, so interactions and business transactions are one of the best ways Facebook can get some moolah out of it. In June, the company integrated its Stores functionality into WhatsApp. So we can expect more features for business in the near future.

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

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