Facebook Local is actually a rebranded version of the Facebook Events app, which was launched over a year ago but failed to take off avid users of the social network.
Facebook Local: What Does It Do?
"The new app, Facebook Local, helps you easily find what to do, where to go, where to eat, or what you need — all recommended by the people you know and trust," said product manager Aditya Koolwal in a statement. The description gives a good idea of why users will want to download Facebook Local, but the app goes much deeper than this.
Facebook Local features three sections, the first of which, the home screen, offers quick searches for places to go to, along with a list of all events nearby that might interest users. The events that Facebook friends found interesting will also be displayed.
The second section of Facebook Local contains a map and a search engine. Similar to Yelp and Foursquare, users can search for restaurants, bars, and other places to hang out. The database is still lacking, with reviews still not that many, but what Facebook Local offers beyond Yelp and Foursquare is that it expands the search engine to events. Only Facebook Local combines places and events in its search engine, powered by the social network and its 70 million business pages, plus the review and check-ins left behind by users.
The third section is the user's calendar, where they can see the Facebook events that they have expressed interest in or have accepted invitations for. Users can also give it access to other calendars to combine them all.
Is Facebook Local Really Necessary?
Given the capabilities of Facebook Local, some users may be thinking whether the app is really necessary. That is because most of the information that can be accessed through it is also available on the main Facebook app.
The relationship between the main Facebook app and Facebook Local, however, is actually a good thing. The two apps share some code, so enhancements done on Facebook Local through usage such as searches will also be applied on the main Facebook app. Facebook Local could also convince business to make more investments into their Facebook Pages, create Facebook Events, and further provide more information to the social network.
One other advantage of Facebook Local is that it does not feature advertisements from business and events. Koolwal, however, said that ads could be a possibility in the future, but users can enjoy the app's ad-free state for now.