Facebook has set its sights on being the next Yelp. The social media giant launched “Local” on Friday, a revamped version of its Events app. The new app provides users with information about events, local businesses, and places their Facebook friends have previously checked in to.
“The new app, Facebook Local, helps you easily find what to do, where to go, where to eat, or what you need — all recommended by the people you know and trust,” Facebook Product Manager, Aditya Koolwal, said in a statement.
So far, Facebook Local has only been launched in the US, but will likely become global.
Whilst the Events app was great for browsing events in your area, it ruled out places you could visit anytime. Facebook Local, on the other hand, shows you the trendiest bars, restaurants and attractions nearby, establishing itself as a major competitor to business listing services such as Yelp and TripAdvisor.
How does the Facebook Local app work?
Users can search for events and businesses by name or category, or they can browse through a Trending feed, or a list of recommendations. Categories include restaurants, cafes, drinks, attractions, film, music and much more. Additionally, results can be sorted by either relevance, popularity, distance or rating.
Selecting a location will show basic information such as its hours, address, phone number and rating. It will provide users with links to its Facebook page and website, and offer directions through a third-party maps app. You will also be able to browse through reviews of the location, and pictures of it posted by previous visitors.
Users will also be able to follow suit of people they know and trust. The app will show you the events and places your friends are interacting with, and the reviews they have written.
The Future of Facebook Local
If Facebook Local is successful, we will likely see other business-friendly features coming to the app. Perhaps you will be able to use Local to get food delivered, or purchase concert tickets directly from the app.
It looks as if advertising on Local may be on the horizon. Although Local doesn’t currently feature ads from businesses or events, Aditya Koolwal claims: “we’ll think about advertising further down the line.” When Facebook does introduce advertising to Local, brands will be able to promote themselves to interested users who are actively looking for places to go. So, businesses – watch this space.