For IOS Users, Facebook’s Nearby Feature Becomes Local Search

By Justin Lafferty 

When Facebook announced Graph Search earlier this year, the natural question was, “When will this be on mobile?” It appears that Facebook is trying to push more search queries onto its mobile application (instead of apps such as Foursquare and Yelp). As Inside Facebook Editor Brittany Darwell noticed recently, Facebook changed the name of its Nearby feature on its iOS app to Local Search.

For Android and mobile Web users, this feature is still called Nearby. It allows users to find restaurants and other landmarks their friends have checked into and/or liked. When the feature was launched in December 2012, it was meant to be a place where users could see where their friends have checked in, but later it showed ratings of these places, too.

Darwell noticed recently that for iOS users, this feature has been renamed Local Search.

Darwell wrote about why Facebook probably made this change:

Changing the name to Local Search is important to distinguish it from the old Nearby. We’ve wondered whether Facebook would turn the product into a stand-alone app to increase awareness and usage. The tool can be useful, especially in areas where a user’s friends are active in checking into places. However, it is limited in that it doesn’t show many pictures from a place compared to Yelp, Foursquare, or other local search products. The actual search function is also not very flexible. For example, a search for “tacos” only seems to return results with “taco” in the name. A user would instead have to search “Mexican restaurant.” Google Maps, Yelp, and Foursquare can recognize “tacos” and return results for a number of restaurants that serve tacos but do not have the word in their name.

Readers: Have you noticed this change on your iPhones?