Why Facebook’s “Nearby” Feature Can Compete With Yelp & Foursquare

In the last decade, a variety of ways to get in touch with your friends surfaced. Of all the social media sites that have come to the public’s attention, Facebook is by far the most popular. In 2011, Facebook had more than 750 million users, 50 percent of whom will log in the site each day.

Why Facebook's “Nearby” Feature Can Compete With Yelp and Foursquare

Facebook is used for keeping in touch with friends, but that is soon going to change. Facebook’s new “Nearby” feature is changing how this social media giant works. Below is more information on how Nearby will compete with Yelp and Foursquare.

What Are Yelp and Foursquare?

Yelp is a review website specific to different big cities. If you live in New York, for example, you can check the Yelp website for this city in order to find great places to eat, drink, hang out, and shop. Yelp helps locals and tourists find the best places to go, without confusing them with advertising. All reviews on Yelp are posted by individuals who have been to the location; reviews are written by real people and are not for marketing purposes. The website is free to use and is not simply a place for locals to rant. In fact, 39 percent of reviewers give locations 5 stars and only 12 percent of reviewers have given locations 1 star.

Foursquare was developed in 2009 specifically for smartphones. This application allows individuals to “check-in” to a location in their city. If this is linked to a social media site, then your friends from that site are able to see where you are. With Foursquare it is possible to check-in to restaurants, bars, or a variety of other locations. It works by using GPS hardware.

What is Facebook’s Nearby Feature?

Facebook’s Nearby feature is for smartphones and was built by the Gowalla team. Nearby lets you discover an array of local businesses, including nightlife, restaurants, shopping and more, and all of this is determined by Facebook based on what you’ve “liked,” where you’ve checked-in previously, and what your Facebook friends do and like. Not only can you search for particular spots, but you can also browse a relevancy-sorted list.

Why Can This New Facebook Feature Compete With Yelp and Foursquare?

Simply put, Nearby will compete with Yelp and Foursquare because it combines the best features of both. It is possible to find great locations on a site you’re probably already browsing; you’re already on Facebook so why switch to Yelp? Also, Facebook makes recommendations based on what you and your friends already like, whereas with Yelp you have to trust the recommendations of complete strangers. Additionally, Nearby helps you discover local businesses, which is a great business-boost for small companies in your area.

While the Nearby feature isn’t perfect yet – there’s not spam protection like with Yelp and it won’t show you where your friends have checked-in – it looks like it is going to compete with Yelp and Foursquare. An intuitive interface and with creative new concepts, Nearby is a great addition to the Facebook mobile application.