It looks like there’s something new with Facebook, and it’s called “Facebook Professional Services.” With this new area of the social network, it looks like Facebook is zeroing in on local search companies like Yelp and Google by offering listings of local businesses and services. To top it off, they’re even going to include user reviews.
Although the feature hasn’t been announced by Facebook, from what people have seen, it is currently only desktop-only. The feature was brought to the attention of Search Engine Land by Sreedev Sharma, who has a short post about the feature.
If you visit Professional Services, you’ll be shown a page that presents their pre-selected current location. After that, searches that are made within that area serves up business categories, including plumbers, dentists, photographers, and the like.
If you look at the categories, you’ll see that there are at least 85 business types in an “Explore other services” section, and even more suggestions will appear when you type in your query. What ever you need, Facebook could help out by giving linking listings for the more than 50 million businesses that have Facebook Pages with user reviews.
The search results that you’re given are displayed are shown in a way that utilizes Facebook’s five-star rating system into account. But the results aren’t strictly ranked by how many stars a business averages. Since Facebook does have an extensive knowledge of individual preferences of their user base, more than likely, results are going to be customized for each user, depending on previous interactions with a business’ Page, or if a friend of theirs has a business review on Facebook.
When you get to a results page, you’ll see the business’ contact information and hours of business, plus review excerpts. There is also a map that shows where businesses are located and links to similar businesses in adjacent areas.
Another option given to users includes the ability to explore other areas, and the geographic range is pretty large. If you’re looking for something in another state or country, you can do it.