(Reuters) – Facebook Inc has quietly debuted a feature that helps users find local businesses based on customer reviews, bringing it in direct competition with similar services from Yelp Inc & Angie's List Inc.
The service has been operational on the social networking site since last month, is available globally & can be accessed even without a Facebook account.
"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 spokesman Mike Manning said.
Facebook allows businesses to create profile pages on its site & these pages have a section where users can post & read reviews.
Companies such as Yelp & Angie's List are known for similar services that allow users to find & rate restaurants & a variety of other businesses.
Facebook's shares closed little changed at $104.55 on Tuesday. Yelp's shares ended down 9.1 percent at $26.88, while Angie's shares finished up 1.7 percent at $9.24.
The Facebook webpage for the new feature reads "Find local businesses with the best Facebook reviews & ratings" & can be accessed through the URL, www.facebook.com/services.
The feature was first reported on tech blogs Search Engine Land & acodez.
(Reporting by Sai Sachin R in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila & Savio D'Souza)