As of today, Facebook is now a part of local search. What does this mean exactly? Well, if you have an Android or iPhone and have the Facebook app on them, I’m sure you’ve noticed the “Nearby” menu option (see picture to the right). As of this afternoon, Facebook Announced that they are updating this feature and turning it into a local search tool.
With this update, when you click on this it will show you places near by that your friends have rated, recommended, checked-in to, or liked. The results that you see will be ranked by the recommendations, check-ins and likes. Your network will act as the filter for this, at least for the time being.
How is this different than before? When you previously clicked on Nearby, it showed you places that your friends had recently checked in at, but thats really it. It will still show you that, but it will also show you various other businesses “nearby” that have been recommended or liked by your network of friends. Of course, only those businesses that have a Facebook Page will be listed – which is just another reason why its so crucial for your company or business to be active on social media sites.
Not only will the update show you businesses and places that your friends have visited and liked, but it also will give you the capability to search by location and/or category (restaurants, shoe stores, hotels etc). Results that appear will be ranked by the number of star ratings, recommendations, likes and check-ins. Since most people are on their Facebook app anyways when out and about, this makes the Nearby tool much more effective and helpful to those looking for specific places.
The app will be updated this afternoon, and I cant wait to start trying it. We all knew and expected Facebook to eventually join the search conversation, and I’m sure this is just the very beginning for them, as they test out the waters.
I’m sure the Nearby feature will become more and more complex as it gathers more data from their Facebook users. I would imagine them letting businesses pay to be on the top of the listings you search for as time goes on, much like Google’s pay per click.
I personally think that this new feature will be very beneficial. Its always nice to be recommended to go try a restaurant by a friend, because you know that it will most likely be a good experience. And now, you can just browse all of the locations near by that your friends and family like and recommend, hopefully making decisions a lot easier!