Facebook is making a move into local recommendations, yes another one, with the new Nearby feature built into the mobile apps. The idea, as the name suggests, is to help you find interesting places near your location. Facebook already has a huge places database and gets some 250 million location tags every month.
Clearly, that's enough data to build a service like this and take on anyone from Foursquare to Google place pages. The feature is the result of work done by the Gowalla team, which Facebook acquired last year.
Facebook is rolling out the feature gradually, only a few users will see it right away. Once you have it enabled, you'll notice a Nearby entry in the app menu.
Tap on it and you'll get a personalized list of places nearby sorted based on how likely you are to find them relevant or interesting. Your friends' likes, previous visits and many other factors are taken into account.
Along with the suggestions, you can also look for places from several categories, restaurants, coffee, hotels and so on. For businesses that have set up a Facebook Page, there are benefits. Users will be able to like the place, call the business, or get directions.
"150 million people visit Pages on Facebook every day globally. And in the US, over half of visitors to Facebook Pages are visiting them from a mobile device," Facebook explained.
"Today we're pleased to announce updates to Nearby, accessed via the Facebook mobile app: now, in addition to showing which friends have checked in at a particular place, Nearby helps people discover places near them based on their friends’ recommendations," it said.
"When someone looks for a place, the results that appear in their Nearby list are based on things like their friends' recommendations, ratings, check-ins, and likes," it added.