Social media giant Facebook has recently announced the launch of a fresh and new Places Directory. This is coming out as a local search site, though it’s more of a “guided browsing” at present.
The new Places Directory mixes up the Graph Search, as well as other elements such as the Page Locations API to ensure that the directory is an effective supplement for a user’s preferred local search plus travel sites. Currently, it has not yet emerged as a genuine substitute. The local business Pages has also been modified and re-hauled lately to ensure reviews are placed at the front and the center.
The fresh directory invites users to look up for a Place by city name or any other place name. Common local queries are not responded to by the search box. The latter does not answer to all queries. For instance, “best noodles, Los Angeles” does not yield any results. Individual businesses with Facebook pages cannot be looked up using this new feature either.
As Graph Search changes with time, this feature will probably evolve. Users that have reached a particular location can select from the number of standard categories such as Bars, Cafes, Attractions, Restaurants, Arts & Entertainment as well as a whole lot more. Each category gives a list of results that seem to have been ranked in an order determined by ratings and network affinity to users.
More social tools located in the right margin filter results for a certain category. Users should note that the filtering is not as robust or precise as a restaurant or hotel site which provides more options for narrowing the search to users.
Users who reach the level of the individual business location are shown the business page, which provides a review tab. There are star ratings and user comments which are visible here. Though these are crucial and extremely useful, the content is not as comprehensive or simple to peruse as that available on Yelp, TripAdvisor or other such sites. Facebook can make these pages more helpful and perhaps this could be a precursor to a Places app for smartphones. There is no other similar comparable mobile experience yet as of now.
Within this present Facebook app, users can see “nearby places” yet this does not exactly match what is available via the new Places directory. Users cannot search for “New York popular attractions” or “Chicago restaurants” in the mobile app and access the same content as the Places directory currently.
This should ideally be rectified by Facebook soon. The search engine giant is aware that the dominant use case for Places directory is finally mobile.
However, the fresh directory is an important step as far as local search is concerned. This is a critical and logical move for Facebook as it aims at increasing user utility and including local business owners within the advertiser column.Facebook Announces the Launch of New Places Directory to Offer Guided Browsing Experience!,