WhatsApp now helps you search for businesses

You won't have to switch apps to find a local shop.


Many people use WhatsApp to shop, and now they might not have to leave the app to find a store. WhatsApp now lets you search for businesses (those using the service's Business Platform, that is) by category or name. The feature is initially available in the UK, Colombia, Indonesia and Mexico, while Brazil will get an expanded version that also indexes small businesses.

WhatsApp also wants to handle the purchases. After a launch in India this August, the messaging app is now testing in-chat payments in Brazil. You can use your credit or debit card to check out directly instead of visiting the web, using another app or making a face-to-face transaction.

WhatsApp didn't say when it expected these search and payment options to reach the US and other parts of the world. In a statement, WhatsApp only said it would expand access "in the future." However, the debut is clearly focused on countries where WhatsApp is popular, such as Brazil. The South American nation is frequently one of the first to get new features, such as sending and receiving money.

It won't be surprising if the technology spreads to other regions. WhatsApp owner Meta has made a point of building shopping features into its core products, including Facebook and Instagram. These latest additions could help Meta provide a more consistent commerce experience across its apps — and, of course, make some extra profit.