Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is releasing a new mobile app feature that will go up against well-known location-based apps Yelp and Foursquare. The new feature is called Facebook Nearby, and it’s essentially a check-in app that the social media giant is hoping will be able to compete with Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) and Foursquare.
TechCrunch’s Josh Constine spent some time exploring the new app, which helps users find businesses based on their friends’ and other users’ check-ins, likes and recommendations. Facebook Nearby was rolled out to 1 percent of users on Monday and will soon be available to all users of the social media giant.
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) Nearby can be accessed on the Nearby tab on the social media site’s smartphone apps. Instead of seeing a simple list of places, users will see a list of nearby businesses that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) thinks they will be interested in. The feature takes into account everything from “likes” to text recommendations left by users’ friends. Users can also search for businesses within a specific category and sub-category, and the results appear on a split-screen map with a list.
Constine said he was “very impressed by how well the relevancy-ranking algorithm works.” He said Facebook Nearby makes it easy for users of the site’s mobile apps to see not only a business’ location, but also details on what their friends think of it. He did, however, say that Facebook should point out places where users’ friends are currently checked in at. He also said Facebook Events information should be included in the app.
Of course Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) could easily monetize the app if it’s successful, although right now it does not have any advertisements in it. Constine believes that Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) and Foursquare do certainly have cause to be concerned about competition from Facebook Nearby, simply because people already spend so much time using Facebook’s other features. They might be willing to stay inside the Facebook app instead of opening up a separate one.