Facebook has become a normal place to ask friends for suggestions for everything from where to travel to where to get a haircut or dinner. But instead of leaving it to users to manually sort through dozens of comments, Facebook is launching new tools to curate those tips — and make it easier for users to involve with the trades behind them.
On Wednesday, Facebook announced a new “Recommendation” feature that users can turn on when they make a post asking for advice on places or services to check out. When the feature is on, suggestions from friends will be mechanically be placed collected on a map based on information in businesses’ “Pages” and saved together.
Facebook is also adding a “Recommendations” bookmark in its flagship app, alongside existing tabs for Friends, Events, Groups and Shops, where users can ask other questions or give tips to friends. Facebook is also refurbishing its “Events” tab and separate “Events” app to make it easier to find what’s popular among friends locally and events the user has engaged with in the past. The new features begin rolling out within the U.S. on iOS and Android on Wednesday.
Facebook said inspiration for the tools came from observing the occurrence with which users ask friends and local groups for suggestions and out of a drive to both save users’ time and make it easier for businesses to reach consumers.
“It’s a challenging process to decide where to go and what to do,” said Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s vice president for ads and business platform. “The device should have the solution to this problem — It has access to all of the people I know.”
“It’s no surprise that Facebook believes in the power of friends and their ability to make our lives better,” Bosworth added.
The recommendation and event updates are one part of what Facebook described as a larger plan to make it easier to get things done, choose facilities and engage with businesses on Facebook. The company also wants to make it easier for users to order and pay for services via Facebook. On Wednesday, Facebook also launched tools that allow users to order or reserve a range of services through businesses’ Pages, such as order food from any restaurant that uses Delivery.com or Slice; request appointments from businesses that use HomeAdvsior, MyTime and some other services; order movie tickets through a Fandango integration; or buy tickets for events through a partnership with Ticketmaster and Eventbrite. Without any integration, businesses can also add a “Get Quote” button or appointment booking button, which will automatically make a Messenger thread between the business and user. The buttons are available to all businesses in the U.S., and more third-party services will be added in the coming months, Facebook said.
“The real story is there is not enough time to do all of the things you want to do with the people you want to do it with,” Bosworth said. “This is time-saving. It gives you a flavor of what’s to come — we’re starting with local discovery.”
Facebook said more than 1 billion people visit Facebook business “Pages” every month and that the new tools are geared toward mobile users. (Mobile advertising made up more than 80% of Facebook’s revenue in its second quarter.) For now, use of the tools will not affect ad targeting on Facebook, Bosworth said. To enable the new ordering and booking features, businesses can update the “call-to-action” buttons on their “Page,” where they can mix with third-party services. Bosworth said he expects businesses to see “measurable real-world outcomes” from using the tools through their Facebook Page. Facebook said in September that 4 million businesses actively advertise on Facebook, and 60 million businesses actively maintain a “Page.”