Social networking site MySpace unveiled a new service Tuesday that will allow users to rate and review local businesses and share that information with friends.

The new service, dubbed "MySpace Local," ultimately will allow users to discover new businesses based on establishments their friends have reviewed. Businesses also can use MySpace Local to tout their services to MySpace users and to highlight special deals and online coupons.

MySpace, a Beverly Hills-based subsidiary of News Corp., created the service in partnership with CitySearch, a West Hollywood company that compiles information and reviews of businesses in cities around the country.

The new service is the latest move by My Space to re-brand itself as an Internet "social portal" or a gateway for users to other types of content instead of a strictly social networking site.

It comes at a time when Facebook, its Palo Alto-based rival, is gaining on MySpace and could by next year become the top social networking site in the United States. MySpace, which had 76 million unique monthly visitors, had a monthly growth rate of 0.8 percent over the past year, compared to a growth rate of 3.8 percent for Facebook, which had 54.5 million unique monthly visitors, according to market research firm Comscore Inc.

MySpace is rolling out MySpace Local to a group of test users this week, executives said. It plans to offer a beta version of the service to all U.S. users in the next month.

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