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Facebook has a secret Yelp competitor for finding local businesses

A hidden section of Facebook unearthed by a social media manager today suggests the social network may try and compete with Yelp as the go-to directory for local businesses. Found at facebook.com/services, the previously unknown desktop-only tool lets you search for everything from local plumbers and photographers to Mexican food and car dealerships.

Sreedev Sharma of Acodez IT Solutions seemingly found the tool, called Professional Services, by accident. It appears to mirror a similar year-old Facebook directory called Places that lets you see the best-rated destinations in any given location. It's unclear whether these two tools will be folded together. "We're in the early stages of testing a way for people to easily find more Pages for the services they're interested in," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.

Facebook has grown into one of the best resources for small- and medium-sized businesses, often becoming a stand-in for a company's website where users can find hours, menus, and even leave starred reviews. Yet the social network has, until now, resisted the urge to position itself as a competitor to Yelp, the de facto user review site. While Yelp has grown powerful and gained user trust thanks to its ubiquity, it still relies on presenting users with the opinions of total strangers, whereas Facebook could capitalize on recommendations from friends.