Facebook updates Locations app, but feature still only available to select pages

Facebook recently relaunched its “Locations” app that allows users to search directly from a company’s page to find business locations near them.

The feature, which helps organize corporate and local pages, had to be redesigned to fit the new Timeline layout. The Locations app is only available to select brands working directly with Facebook. A spokesperson from the social network could only tell us that pages have to ask Facebook to enable the app, but she could not provide details about what makes a company eligible for the feature.

Facebook’s Locations app first appeared in August 2011 as part of a limited private test of parent-child page management tools. Since then we’ve had a number of readers inquire about when the feature would be available publicly, but it seems Facebook is reserving this for select partners for now.

Corporations like Starbucks, Macy’s and Home Depot are among those with the Locations tab, but it’s unclear whether companies have to make a certain size advertising spend to qualify or simply be well-known. Businesses with access to a Facebook account representative or working with one of Facebook’s Preferred Marketing Developers certified in Pages should connect with those contacts to request access to the app. Other businesses will have to develop their own store locator applications.

Facebook’s native Locations app overlays store information on a Bing map within a tab on a company’s page. The map defaults to a tight radius around the user’s current location, but refreshes with additional results when users re-orient the map. Users can also search by city, state or zip code. The tab is not available from Facebook’s mobile site or applications.

Partners with access to the feature can manage their corporate and local pages using the Pages API and a basic admin interface. Hearsay Social, which was initially involved with Facebook in developing the management system, provides additional features and regulatory compliance for companies with both corporate and local pages. Hearsay CEO Clara Shih says her company was not involved in the latest update to the Locations app, though customers including 24 Hour Fitness use it. She did not have any information about how companies outside of her customer base could get access to the feature.

Here are links to a number of pages’ Location tabs: