WhatsApp is getting a business directory feature

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Do you remember the Yellow Pages? That massive tome of dead tree you used to keep next to your landline (if you can remember that relic too) that you could page through if you needed a business’ or neighbour’s phone number? Well, now it’s coming to WhatsApp, in the form of an integrated business directory. 

Find your local butcher, baker, and candlestick maker on WhatsApp

The Facebook-owned messaging app is trying out the feature first in São Paulo, Brazil, reports Reuters, which Will Cathcart (WhatsApp CEO) says is, “…home to millions of small businesses.”

Now, this digital directory is significantly more convenient than the Yellow Pages. Instead of spending ages scouring page after page for your local florist’s number, you can just use the search bar to find it. 

Again, this feature is currently only available to users in São Paulo, but should apparently be making its way to the rest of the world soon enough, beginning with India and Indonesia. 

Ecommerce has never been a pillar of the WhatsApp experience, but it’s clear that the platform is looking to change this. A few months back it revealed that it was planning on integrating Facebook’s Shops feature into itself, and has unveiled several in-app payment features too. What we haven’t seen yet, thankfully, is ads, but that may not always be the case. 

Speaking to Reuters, Matt Idema, Facebook’s VP of business messaging. “There’s definitely a route on ads, which is Facebook’s core business model, that over the long term I think in some form or another will be part of the business model for WhatsApp.”

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