WhatsApp launches local business directory for searching nearby shops, cafes, and more

WhatsApp today kicked off its small-scale public local business directory search feature. This feature will let you directly look for local businesses, such as shops, cafes, grocery stores, and more. The feature is only available in São Paulo, Brazil, right now. CEO Will Cathcart says “São Paulo is a home to millions of small businesses” and the feature is currently available in this region only. It will be expanded to other regions soon, but for now, it’s only available in São Paulo.

WhatsApp has grown into being one of the most used messaging platforms on Earth. With over 2.5 billion active users on the service, it makes sense to have such functionality built into the app. A screenshot shared by CEO Cathcart shows how the local business directory feature would work. A new “Businesses nearby” section will appear in the New Chat section which will then enlist all the shops based on categories, like Food & Beverage, Automotive service, etc. I’ll, most probably, require location permission to work.

Though the local business directory feature is only available in Brazil right now, Matt Idema, Facebook’s vice president of business messaging, said (Via Reuters) that India and Indonesia are likely good candidates for expanding the new WhatsApp feature. However, along with this, Idema also gave one bad news for the service. He says WhatsApp has plans to add advertisements to the app.

“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,” he said.

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