Facebook just unveiled a new feature called “Place Tips,” and it’s aimed directly at location-based recommendation apps like Yelp.
The premise behind Place Tips is fairly simple: When you’re near a store, restaurant, or location that Facebook thinks you might like, a little pink notification will pop up on your News Feed. Click it, and you’ll be able to sift through cards that detail everything — from reviews to photos and posts — from your friends that have visited the location in the past.
If you think about it, Facebook is basically just re-formatting a business’s Facebook page to be a location-based reminder that includes related activities or photos from your friends.
Facebook is making Place Tips a default feature, so you’ll have to turn it off through the “Location” settings if you’re not feeling it. Facebook has specified that “tapping on place tips won’t post on Facebook or show anyone where you are,” but the feature does keep track of where you are using GPS and Wi-Fi. Facebook is also testing Bluetooth beacons for offline notifications at certain stores too.
But Place Tips is also interesting because it’s not an app.
While Facebook hasn’t had any issue spinning off Messenger and Groups into their own apps, Facebook appears to have realised it will get far more people using the feature if it just bundles it into the Facebook app.
It’s not a bad strategy. Facebook’s Paper app, which reorganized Facebook into a more news-centric layout, was a flop. A beautiful flop, but a flop nonetheless. But when Facebook showcased news stories that were trending on its main Facebook page, people slowly began to explore the feature, and today Facebook is one more step closer to becoming Mark Zuckerberg’s dream of a “perfect personalised newspaper.”
That’s why including Place Tips in the main Facebook app makes sense. People don’t like switching between apps, and spinning off Place Tips would cause it to directly compete against Yelp and Foursquare. With this strategy, Facebook users will be encouraged to test out the feature, no additional app required, and it could end up siphoning off some Yelp and Foursquare users who also use Facebook.
For now, Place Tips is only rolling out to high-traffic areas in New York City like Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, and JFK Airport.
You can see more of what using Place Tips looks like in the video below, or you can read the official announcement right here.
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