As the largest social network in the world, Facebook has a crap-load of data on everything from nightlife, restaurants, shopping, and much more based on Likes and checkins. Facebook is ready to start using that information to help users find cool stuff with their revamped Nearby feature.
Nearby is basically Facebook’s answer to Yelp and Foursquare, except it’s got a lot more users ready to jump on board, a whole lot more information, and is going to be better at recommending places to you.
When you open up the new Nearby feature, users will see a list of local businesses and landmarks that Facebook thinks you’ll be interested in. The list of places in Nearby are determined by a number of ranking factors and signals including friends who have liked or checked in to a place, given a place a rating, or left a recommendation.
The appeal of Nearby is very simple but also extremely powerful. For instance: rather than having to search through hundreds of anonymous reviews for sushi restaurants in your area on Yelp, you could just pull up Nearby and get a sushi recommendation that’s based on what your sushi-aficionado friend Jeremy has Liked or checked into in the past.
Users will find new places easier, and they’re going to be more likely to enjoy them too. Nearby will also let you search for specific spots or you can browse for recommendations based on categories like Coffee, Hotels, Outdoors, Nightlife, Restaurants, Arts, and Shopping.
Facebook hopes that Nearby will help users discover new places in their area, while also promote businesses and get users more engaged with the Facebook mobile app rather than jumping over to services like Yelp and Foursquare.
The update will work on both iOS and Android apps and is ready to roll out to 1% of users later today and all other Facebook users should get it very soon.