Facebook wants to be the place where you discover a great new bookstore or bar

Facebook just announced some updates to Pages as it aims to become a go-to place for people to find information about local businesses online.

In its biggest update to Pages in three years, Facebook is making it easier for companies to advertise their goods and services and drive real business through call-to-action buttons that let people book appointments or make purchases, particularly on smartphones.

Right now, 45 million businesses have Facebook Pages, company COO Sheryl Sandberg said during an event held at Facebook’s headquarters Tuesday afternoon.

That may seem like a big number, but 35% of businesses in the US don’t have an online presence yet at all.

That’s where Facebook wants Pages to come in: Instead of building a website or dedicated mobile app, companies can put all their information on Facebook for free. And Facebook’s changes to Pages make them look more like a regular website than ever before.

Google’s algorithm can crawl Pages content, so if you Google a specific company name, their Facebook page will show up.

But Facebook also wants people to search for more business information within the Facebook app itself.

There’s already a “Nearby Places” feature within the app, which lets people browse businesses near them by category, as well as “Place Tips,” which pop up on a user’s Facebook app when they’re near or visiting a business.

But Facebook execs said on stage that the company working on improving searchability. Meaning, if you search for something like “plumbers,” “party planning,” or “shoes” in the main Facebook app, you should find a bunch of businesses that would make sense for you.

“There’s a lot more we could do with discovery,” product manager Michael Sharon told Business Insider after the presentation. “There’s a lot more we could do to help people discover great Pages, great businesses nearby. We’re not really doing that yet. There’s more we could do there.”

The more helpful Facebook becomes for you, the more likely that you’ll use it instead of, say, Google or Yelp. And that’s good for Facebook when it comes to selling Newsfeed ads or, eventually, monetizing Messenger.

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