Facebook Is Testing a Beefed-Up Version of Its Local Search

Yelp, Foursquare and Google Maps probably don't need to worry ... yet

Facebook is quietly testing enhancements to its local search functionality, the social network confirmed to Sarah Perez of TechCrunch.

Via both mobile and desktop, some users (including myself) who enter queries such as “bars nearby” or “restaurants nearby” into their search bars are seeing information on those businesses including address, phone number, hours of operation, ratings from Facebook users (five-star system) and number of users who have rated them, pricing (dollar signs from one to four, with one representing lowest and four highest), maps, photos and whether friends have checked in at those businesses.

Calls to action—sign up, shop now, call now—are also included, where applicable.

A Facebook spokesperson did not provide details to Perez on how long the test has been ongoing and how many users are involved, only saying:

We’re testing a new way to discover where to go and what to do around you.

These results are not appearing at the top of search results in either mobile or desktop, but users who scroll down a bit and find them can click “see all” for a more complete list. Users also have the ability to filter those lists by categories including relevance, distance, rating and popularity on mobile, and criteria such as visited by friends and good for groups on desktop.

Facebook launched a Nearby feature on its flagship iOS and Android applications in December 2012—which has since been renamed Nearby Places and is still accessible via the apps’ more menu—but the test Facebook is conducting offers users more functionality.

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.