Facebook updates iOS, Android apps with local recommendations

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Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is rolling out updated versions of its iOS and Android social networking applications, adding a new local recommendations feature that suggests spots favored by the user's Facebook contacts.

Facebook is overhauling the app menu's Nearby tab to list local restaurants and retailers recommended or 'liked' by friends, as well as destinations where contacts have checked in. "If you're looking for a place to eat, choose a category like Restaurants to see what's nearby," explains Josh Williams, Facebook's location & events products manager. "When you find a place that looks interesting, tap to see info like friends who've been there and business hours."

Facebook Nearby users may also share ratings or recommendations. "Your own suggestions become more personalized the more you and your friends rate, recommend and check into places," Williams notes. "Results will get better the more people use Nearby, and we'll continue to improve it based on feedback. We also plan to add places info from third-party services in the near future."

Facebook now touts more than 1 billion users worldwide, with roughly 600 million accessing its services via mobile. "People who use our mobile products are more engaged, and we believe we can increase engagement even further as we continue to introduce new products and improve our platform," Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in October.

Facebook Nearby could therefore pose a major threat to location-based recommendation and review platforms like Yelp and foursquare. MarketWatch reports that Yelp shares fell more than 3 percent in the hours following Facebook's announcement.

For more:
- read this Facebook Newsroom entry
- read this MarketWatch article

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