TripAdvisor Facebook App Local Picks Provides Food For Thought From Facebook Friends, Locals

By David Cohen 

Hungry Facebook users pondering dining options: Wouldn’t it be great if you could combine input from your friends on the social network with reviews from locals in whatever city you happen to be in? Now you can, thanks to Local Picks, a new Facebook application from TripAdvisor.

Local Picks launched Wednesday with information on some 850,000 restaurants in nearly 200 countries, encompassing millions of reviews and opinions from the flagship TripAdvisor service, as well as from Foursquare check-ins, menus from Single Platform, and, now, commentary from Facebook friends.

The app is integrated with timeline, allowing users to share their ratings, favorites, and themed lists with their friends.

Local Picks users cannot add new restaurants in the launch version, but TripAdvisor said that ability would likely be added in a future update. Other languages will be added later this summer, as well, as Local Picks launched solely in English.

Users of the app can rate restaurants on a 1-5 scale, and information incorporated into the establishments’ profiles includes address, neighborhood, type of cuisine, phone number, website, hours of operation, menus, and photos.

Other Local Picks features include:

  • Foodies: A news feed that updates users on their Facebook friends’ recommendations and other activities, including check-ins and ratings. Users can also follow other users outside of their Facebook networks, such as well-known chefs.

  • Local Picks Index: A ranking of top restaurants across the globe, with more weight given to locals’ reviews and opinions.
  • Favorites and Wish Lists: A way for users to keep track of restaurants they want to try, or ones they have tried and loved.

TripAdvisor Director of Product Jamie Conroy said in an interview:

Local Picks is truly an international product. It brings a global scale, but keeps local recommendations at its heart. TripAdvisor is a global company. Part of the reason the product is compelling is that you can pull your friends into it by using the Facebook platform. Adding your friends’ recommendations into the mix is a really important part of the dining discovery process. TripAdvisor is always looking for opportunities to add social into the mix.

And Vice President of Global Product Adam Medros said in a press release:

TripAdvisor is committed to improving the social travel planning experience and, whether you’re looking for a restaurant in a foreign city or in your own backyard, Local Picks is an excellent resource for the inside scoop. The app leverages the Facebook Platform to uniquely combine friend advice with local insight, highlighting dining options from those that know the user and the area best.

Readers: Will you add Local Picks from TripAdvisor to your apps menu?