TripAdvisor Takes on Yelp with Local Picks Facebook App

Normally, TripAdvisor reviews come from tourists who aren’t familiar with the areas they’re visiting. It’s valuable information in its own right, but for travelers who want to go beyond the touristy parts of town, the best advice often comes from the people who live there. Launched this week, TripAdvisor’s new Facebook app helps people find restaurants in their own neighborhoods.

To use the app, log in with your Facebook account and enter your location. You’ll be asked to rate just a handful of the 850,000 restaurants in the database that you’ve already tried on a scale of one to five. You can also put the restaurants into Pick Lists that you can type in yourself, like “cool dive bars” or “rooftop patios” to distinguish a favorite watering hole from someplace you’d take your parents. You can also mark places that you’re interested in trying, but haven’t been to yet.

Next, they’ll ask you to invite your friends to join. All of these features are optional, but the more information you enter, the more personalized your recommendations will be. While friendship and taste in food don’t always go hand in hand, seeing a familiar face attached to a review can at least put it in better context.

TripAdvisor joined Facebook’s Timeline earlier this year with an app for sharing the places you’ve traveled. An earlier version of the Local Picks app was shut down in 2010. Already, the new Facebook app has attracted 9,878 daily average users and 26,363 monthly average users, according to AppData. (Since the app just launched, these numbers more accurately reflect activity from the last few days).

Beyond helping locals find places in their own cities, the app will better inform the tourists who use the site. The travel space is filling up quickly with competing recommendation sites like Trippy and Yelp. Armed with data from Local Picks, people who use TripAdvisor to book a hotel won’t necessarily have to switch to another review site to find places to eat when they get there.