Facebook has launched a new tool called “Places Discovery” that helps its users explore global cities. It is designed for local search and takes advantage of Facebook’s page locations API and Graph search among other elements.
How the New Feature Works
When users type the name of a city they are searching for, they will get directed to a page for the city where they will get all the information like the local attractions, hotels and restaurants, and bars and cafes. There is unique recommendation within each of the categories.
Facebook has introduced the tool without any media hype. The social media giant hasn’t made any such claim but it is expected that the results get curated according to activities within your Facebook network, such as the comments and user ratings from your friends and their friends. This is evident from the fact that it is possible to read latest reviews from your network below each one of the category.
If users enter “London” into their search box, the social site recommends the hot restaurants in the city like The Ledbury and Bread Street Kitchen. When anyone clicks on the image of the restaurant, they will be connected to their business page on Facebook.
The places directory has a lot of similarities with Yelp. But you cannot conduct searches for any particular place or category in a city unless and until they are already there on the city page. If you search for “Ledbury in London” directly, the tool will not provide any result for the landing page. But you could search the term on the London page. There is a tool on the right side that can help filter the results.
Facebook now has access to more reviews from friends and friends of friends, and large volume of location data. All this can help the social giant add more features to its discovery tool (and local search). Therefore, it is expected that the tool will be expanded further in the near future. Imagine if Facebook focuses more of its resources into Places. It could certainly bring some major changes in the local search domain, even making an impact on search engines and their algorithms.
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