Facebook has now started adding critics’ reviews for a few restaurant pages in the United States. The latest move can be termed as yet another experiment from the social networking site to push its local search product.
Facebook plans to boost local search feature
Now users will not just see the reviews of friends or other visitors but can also read critics’ reviews. The latest step could beef up Facebook’s local search product feature, which has failed to attract much attention compared to services from Yelp and Google.
“In order to give you access to even more helpful information about local places, we’re testing a new unit that will display critic reviews for certain restaurants in the U.S.,” Facebook told Mashable.
Initially, Facebook is entering into a partnership with Bon Appetit, Conde Nast Traveler, Eater, New York Magazine and the San Francisco Chronicle. Facebook said that reviews play a critical role in people’s decision of what to do locally, which is why the company is excited to create new ways for people to use the platform to find the best real-world experiences. Also the social network mentioned that “thousands” of restaurants are included in the pilot program.
Localizing the user experience
For restaurants, however, critics’ reviews could act as a double-edged sword. Businesses use Facebook pages to promote their product and services, which requires them to be able to control the types of reviews that appear on their ads. But now Facebook will have to publish even a negative review.
Restaurant reviews already have a lot of players competing, specifically as companies compete with one another for acquiring a large number of shares in the mobile search market. Yahoo entered into a partnership with local review website Yelp in March 2014 to boost its offerings. Similarly, search engine giant Google acquired Zagat for $151 million in 2011.
Facebook’s move of offering restaurant reviews comes after the social network’s announcement that WhatsApp could allow businesses to contact customers on the messaging app, offering better ways to boost customer service. Also Facebook recently ramped up its effort to offer more native content to users, and in the process, its native video streaming player has paid off well. Recently COO Sheryl Sandberg said there are around 30 million business pages on Facebook, and the company is determined to give them better services in targeting customers.