Facebook overhauls mobile Pages to challenge Yelp, foursquare
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is redesigning its mobile Pages platform to help consumers more efficiently access local merchant information on the go.
Facebook Pages allow businesses, organizations and brands to share their stories and content with consumers. Retailers and restaurants can customize their Pages by adding apps, posting stories and promoting offers. The revamped Pages for mobile brings a cleaner, simpler look optimized for smartphone screen sizes, making it easier for customers to access vital information like location and photos. The refresh also boosts actions including Like, Call, Message and Share at the top of each Page, while adding Yelp-like user ratings to the center.
Facebook also promises improvements for Page owners. Administrators may now pin important posts like deals or videos from the desktop: "These posts are now front and center when Pages are accessed on mobile devices," Facebook notes. In addition, Pages owners may now switch seamlessly between public and admin views. Merchants do not need to make any changes to their Pages to accommodate the revamp, although Facebook urges them to make sure all information is up to date.
According to Facebook, millions of its 1 billion worldwide users visit Pages each day, with close to half accessing the service from mobile phones. The social network told TechCrunch the mobile makeover is a "truly mobile-first" initiative, with no parallel Web redesign in its immediate plans.
The refresh vaults Facebook Pages into direct competition with dedicated local review and recommendation services like Yelp and foursquare. The redesigned foursquare 6.0, introduced for iOS earlier this month, emphasizes local search and discovery features over the mobile social networking app's signature check-in model, shifting the Explore feature--which highlights nearby points of interest based on the user's check-in history and their friends' foursquare activity, complete with consumer reviews and merchant offers--from a separate tab at the bottom of the device screen to the top of the navigation bar. An overhauled auto-complete search engine delivers speedier local business and entertainment results than previous foursquare incarnations, and a retooled friends feed now includes recommendations, trending destinations and nearby contacts.
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