Facebook today has launched its latest app, Local, as a rebranded and updated version of its previous standalone Events app. The new app brings together businesses, restaurants, bars, and more along with events.
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The new app features a simple place to search for fun things to do, all made possible by Facebook’s database of 70 million business pages in addition to Facebook reviews and location sharing via friends’ checkins.
TechCrunch shared today that the app’s product manager, Aditya Koolwal said the effort was meant to “make it a lot easier to do certain kind of looks ups that are very common when making plans with friends.”
Local is ad free for now, however, Koolwal said that the company may look at the option in the future, “we’ll think about advertising way further down the line.”
A bit confusing is how the new Local app changes the main Facebook app. TechCrunch notes that under the ‘More’ tab in the main Facebook app, ‘Nearby; has been changed to ‘Local’ but that the Events section is still separate.
Facebook details four key ways that the Local App can be useful:
- See what you have coming up and the latest from your friends
- Find new things to do right now, this weekend or for an upcoming trip
- Explore events, places and things to do near you, wherever you are
- Check you calendar to see what you have coming up
The app also brings these changes compared to the previous Events version:
- Ability to search for events, places and activities nearby or in another city or neighborhood.
- Browse timely Guides to find events, places and things to do by category.
- See event invitations you haven’t responded to at the top of your calendar.
The new app is definitely going to be a competitor with services like Yelp. TC speculated that if Local becomes popular enough, it may mean businesses putting more focus and energy into their Facebook pages and other services like Facebook Events.
Other new features and updates from Facebook recently have brought P2P payments in Messenger, cross posting from Instagram Stories to Facebook Stories, and a new facial recognition option for recovering a locked account.
Facebook Local is a free download from the App Store.