On Monday, December 17, 2012, the world’s largest social network Facebook has added 'Nearby' (a new tab) onto the navigation menu. The new tab is only available for users who login into their account via mobile devices. For now, only devices run on Apple iOS and Google Android will be able to use 'Nearby.' 'Nearby' will let users to find nearby places such as malls, restaurants, and bars, etc. Users can search thru category.
Overall, 'Nearby' is almost similar to local search. The lists of nearby places were based on suggestions and recommendations from friends or family members. Most 'Nearby' places are usually attached as geo-tag into posts or photos by friends. Those places had been visited by friends; therefore, they usually give a thumb-up or a thumb-down. Friends and other users can assign a rating value (i.e., 5-star).
For local small business owners and brick-and-mortar places such as café shop, beauty salon or barbershop, 'Nearby' feature could increase exposure to potential buyers to find their locations easily. Small businesses can rely on 'Nearby' to promote sales of products or services. However, to take advantage of this new feature, every local business must have a Facebook page. The “about us” page should include store address, store hours, phone number, and type of business.
As Facebook has launched the new app for mobile users, the biggest losers are local search service provider such as Yelp and Foursquare. Most 'Nearby' recommendations are based on friends in the social network. On the other hand, Yelp’s data were from the general public.
(Image: Facebook Nearby app for Apple iOS, iPhone)