WhatsApp begins testing local business directories in São Paulo, Brazil

Source: MediaNama

Facebook-owned instant messaging service- WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging platforms in the world. People have been using WhatsApp and loving its simplicity since it was first launched to end the per SMS charges. WhatsApp in itself was a revolution in instant text messages when it first came out, free internet-based messages with no limit whatsoever.

Anyhow, a lot has changed since then, it has been acquired by Facebook, the social media conglomerate and it has added features and functionality, way beyond its original set of instant messaging features.

Speaking of features, WhatsApp has recently begun testing a new feature allowing WhatsApp users to find businesses through the application itself. The instant messaging service is testing local business directories for the first time on the platform and it is a big change to what WhatsApp has been since now. From community with business owners using WhatsApp, the app will not let users find new businesses through the app itself.

As mentioned in a report by Engadget, the feature allows users to scan through local shops and services that have an existing presence on Facebook’s instant messaging service. However, the feature is only currently available in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Sources suggest that WhatsApp’s next target market to launch this new feature would include India and Indonesia, as confirmed by the head of WhatsApp, Will Cathcart.

Cathcart has also recently shared a screenshot of the new WhatsApp feature suggesting that it can now sort businesses by category and how nearby they are to you. This feature reminds us of Google Maps and Apple Maps but coming on WhatsApp is a great deal, completely revolutionizing the instant messaging service and expanding its horizon to being much more than that.

As mentioned in a report by Reuters, WhatsApp is testing this new feature with thousands of shops and services in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Based on the response from customers and users will the company think about expanding this service to other countries with Indonesia and India being on the priority list.

Starting from just being an instant messaging service, WhatsApp has grown and expanded into the e-commerce business since 2018. The platform has made it easy for businesses to communicate directly with their customers via WhatsApp.

Anyhow, the company is set out for growth and expansion but with the increasing scrutiny from the government on the platform’s changing privacy policies and terms of use, there is a lot that WhatsApp needs to keep in check.

Just earlier this year, WhatsApp received major criticisms from its users and privacy critics questioning the company’s updated privacy policies. During this phase, many users migrated from WhatsApp to alternatives like Telegram and Signal, but WhatsApp still remains on the top because of its wide userbase.