Facebook Takes a Big Step toward Competing in Local Search
November 11, 2014 | Contributed by: Greg Sterling
I’m not sure exactly when it happened but Facebook has apparently redesigned its Places Directory (courtesy of a tip to Search Engine Land). The site has now become considerably more usable as a local search and discovery tool.
I’ve been wondering for a long time when Facebook was going to release a stand-alone Places app. This new site seems an almost certain prelude to that eventuality. Below are screens that illustrate the Place site is now more viable as a TripAdvisor alternative.
Users can search for cities and then browse categories such as hotels, restaurants, attractions and entertainment. You can also filter by social criteria (Liked by Friends, etc.) and save listings to a personalized directory.
Facebook probably has more business or places ratings than any other site online, including Google, Yelp and TripAdvisor, although they may be uneven by category and relatively “thin” (little or no depth). With some additional filtering capability and the capacity to deliver more in-depth reviews Facebook will have something very competitive.
I think we’re seeing the lead up to a local search/discovery app that could be quite disruptive to the existing players if done well. It’s getting very close.