Facebook Users Can Search Top-Ranked Local Businesses

Amazon and Google have recently made efforts to connect Internet users with home and local service providers, taking on companies such as Angie’s List and Yelp in the process. Now, Facebook is testing its own feature that directs social media users to the top-reviewed service providers in their area. The new site is only available on desktop, but Facebook offers the ability to find local businesses on mobile via “Nearby Places.” In addition to home services, Facebook’s feature highlights restaurants, bars, nightclubs and travel-related businesses such as hotels, sightseeing and tours.

“At the easy-to-access URL Facebook.com/services, the social network has compiled a searchable directory of professional service providers, like contractors, painters, plumbers, doctors’ offices, auto repair techs, child care providers, pet groomers, salons, event planners, decorators, and much more,” reports TechCrunch.

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“Amazon and Google have both been targeting the fragmented home services market,” notes TechCrunch, “Amazon with the launch of its own nationwide ‘Home Services’ destination in March, and Google with an extension to AdWords as its angle into the space.”

However, Facebook is pushing beyond local professionals to feature additional businesses. Currently, there are more than 80 business types listed in the directory, with more available via search.

The site essentially includes any business with a Facebook Page, and related data already collected through Pages (description, phone number, hours of operation, location, reviews) is provided upon each search. It is not yet clear how Facebook is ranking the results.

In a related story, Facebook is also making a push into live video, allowing users with verified Pages to go live with the platform’s new video streaming service. Facebook has been slowly expanding the service since first making it available to celebrities during the summer.

“Facebook’s live video streaming is squarely competing with other social live video apps, most notably Twitter’s Periscope,” according to Variety. “But the service is also a good way to further boost video viewing on Facebook. The social network already clocks more than eight billion video views every single day.”