Facebook is thinking locally with its latest app.
The social network is rebranding its standalone events hub app to also include listings for restaurants, entertainment, and other businesses within the general vicinity of a user.
Along with invitations to events and listings of nearby happenings, users will now see business recommendations from friends, searchable maps, and a list of any Facebook connections who happen to be in the area.
“The new app, Facebook Local, helps you easily find what to do, where to go, where to eat, or what you need— all recommended by the people you know and trust,” Facebook product manager Aditya Koolwal said in a statement.
The expanded app is part of a bid to sign more regional small businesses onto the site. The company also announced a 30-city cross-country tour this week to tout the benefits of the platform to local owners.
A big part of this push involves carving out a bigger presence in the offline activities of Facebook users. With the majority of Facebook’s traffic now on mobile, knowledge of where Facebook users are and how they spend their time is especially important when selling effective ads to small brick-and-mortar companies.
Previous attempts to better integrate Facebook into the physical world have included virtual appointment cards at hair salons or auto repair shops, a feature to solicit nearby restaurant recommendations from friends, and more customer service capabilities.
Facebook first spun its events hub into a separate app a little more than a year ago. Unlike its Messenger app, the company never required you to download it in order to keep the functionality. The standalone was geared more towards prolific users who feel like it helps them stay organized.
Facebook’s Yelp-like additions could help broaden that appeal.
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