New Service helps to find high-rated businesses with reviews too

We have just heard about a new service that Facebook has not officially been launched yet, but looks like it’s coming. It’s a bit under the radar at the moment but looks like it’s on trial in the US. It’s called “Facebook Professional Services” , where Facebook looks to be going head on against local search companies like Yelp and Google by offering listings of local businesses and services, complete with user reviews.

It’s not been officially announced and we read about it from a post by Sreedev Sharma, who wrote a short post about the service which is currently only available as a desktop version. You can see a beta version of the Facebook new service here

As you can see from this screen shot below it’s not difficult to see how it will work.

Visitors to Facebook Professional Services are presented first with a page that has their current location preselected. Searches can be made within that area by typing into a dialogue box that serves up business categories like plumbers, pet services, photographers, spa & beauty salons, pharmacies, takeaways etc.

Facebook Professional Services

The list and type of categories is extensive. As you move down, there are currently only a few contractors types in the “DIY” section, however more suggestions appear when you start typing into the search box. Need a recommendation for an electrician or a plumber? Facebook might be able to help, linking listings for thousands of businesses that have Facebook Pages with people’s reviews.

The search results are displayed in a way that incorporates Facebook’s star rating system, but strangely the results don’t seem to be ranked by how many stars the business has. Given Facebook’s knowledge of individual preferences, the results seem to be customised for users depending on their previous interactions with a business’s Page or whether someone they are connected with has reviewed a business on Facebook.

The results page displays businesses’ contact information and hours of business, and excerpts of reviews (with a link to see more reviews on the business’s Facebook Page). The services results page also includes a map that shows where businesses are located and links to similar businesses in close by towns and areas.

Facebook Professional Services Results

 

Users can also explore other wider geographic areas too. Users can search for the highest-rated plumbers in a county too

No one yet knows how Facebook Professional Services will integrate with Facebook Places, (Facebook’s local search directory) that offers a way to explore geographic locations through the eyes of Facebook friends and strangers. Some believe that Places could also be a potential threat to Yelp, Rated people, Checkatrade etc. Only time will tell to see how it rolls out and when it’s also made available on mobile devices.

When asked about their new service, a Facebook spokesperson stated: “We’re in the early stages of testing a way for people to easily find more Pages for the services they’re interested in.”

Facebook said is an “early test” and it seems they’re not like to to give it much promotion — at least in the short term.

Facebook said that the site has been live for around a month, but surprisingly there have been no blog posts, launches or announcements.

 

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