Facebook Quietly Debuts New Local Search and Discovery Tool

Facebook’s new Places Discovery tool for local search taps into the platform’s Graph search, page locations API, and other components to help users explore cities around the world.

landingpage

Once you type in the name of the city you are looking for on the landing page, you will be directed to a city page featuring a mix of restaurants, hotels, bars, cafes, and public attractions. Each category has its own list of recommendations.

The results seem to be curated based on user ratings and comments from friends and friends of friends in your Facebook network, as you can read recent reviews from your Facebook circle below each category.

For example, if you enter “New York City, NY” into the search box, Facebook will recommend restaurants like Eataly NYC and Ippudo New York. And if you click a restaurant’s image, for example, Ippudo, you will be linked to its company page on Facebook.

resturants

The new places directory functions much like Yelp. However, users don’t have the flexibility to search for a specific category or a specific place in a city until they are on a city page.

For example, if you type in “Ippudo in New York City” directly on the landing page, the search tool will not respond to your query. But you can search for “Ippudo in New York City” when you are on the New York page. And a tool in the right margin will help you filter your results.

ipuddo

With its extensive location data and access to a network of friends’ reviews, Facebook can definitely add more capabilities to its local search and discovery tool to enhance its functionality. If the platform chooses to invest further in Places, existing players like Yelp should definitely be worried.

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