Introducing Local Search for Restaurants, Bars and Cafes on Facebook Mobile
Up until recently, Facebook has done little to promote its local search option on Facebook mobile applications. However, just last month it took an important step toward raising more awareness about this feature by changing its name from Facebook Nearby to Facebook Local Search on its iPhone mobile application. Mobile phone users who run Android will still have to look for Facebook Nearby for the time being it seems.
Despite the slow rollout of this feature (it’s been hiding away on most people’s phones now since December 2012), I suspect this option is going to develop a much higher profile in the near future as it forms a key part of Facebook’s big plans for world domination of social search. Did you know for example, that ‘restaurant’ is one of the most searched for terms on the entire World Wide Web? I guess that makes this a very tasty area of search to set your sights on!
With Local Search, Facebook is now making search more ‘social’ by including star rating from other Facebook users, by notifying you if your friend has checked in or recommended a venue and there is also the option for you to like, checkin and recommend the venue directly within the application.
On top of that, you get all the usual information options you’d expect from a mobile local search application, including a direct call link, opening hours, address information and a map locator.
Unlike more well established local restaurant and bar apps such as FourSquare and Yelp, it has yet to include photographs of food that have been tagged by other users. However, I imagine it’s only a matter of time before this functionality gets added to the mix.
To show you how it works, I’ve included a gallery of screen grabs that will run you through Facebook Local Search (or Nearby as it’s still called on my Android phone).
Facebook Nearby (or Local Search on your iPhone) appears on your popup menu on the Facebook mobile application
The Home Screen view shows local businesses, distance away and star ratings from other Facebook users.
Category Options for Facebook Local Search
You can also search for venues by type.
Check the details of a local restaurant
See if your Facebook friends have visited and how many stars the venue has earned.
View all recommendations or write your own recommendation.
Share your thoughts about the venue with your Facebook friends.
If you haven't already tried Facebook Local Search / Nearby out then why not give it a try. I'd also love to hear your comments about the results. Is this something you'd like to use more often in the future?