WhatsApp will challenge Google Maps by helping you find local businesses

WhatsApp is currently testing a ‘modern-day Yellow pages’ type feature through which its users will be able to discover contacts of local businesses within the app.

The feature, which aims to give users a vast in-app business directory at their fingertips, will today kick off testing in Sao Paulo, Brazil after being announced by WhatsApp’s Will Cathcart through a series of tweets.

Reuters said that testing will include thousands of businesses in categories like food, retail, and local services across certain São Paulo neighborhoods. It’s the latest move by Facebook-owned WhatsApp to bolster e-commerce through its services.

Matt Idema, Facebook’s vice president of business messaging, said that “India and Indonesia were good next candidates to expand the feature,” namely because Yellow Pages once formed an important part of everyday life before being supplanted by internet-based directories. Idema believes the new in-app directory “could be the primary way that people start a commerce process from within WhatsApp,” which would help democratize the way people build custom without the need to own more than a WhatsApp-enabled smartphone.

 

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