Nearby Local Search from Facebook is Not Quite a Foursquare Killer

While Facebook’s upgraded Nearby local search feature may threaten Foursquare one day, the current Foursquare product still performs much better than Facebook’s, according to GigaOM. Facebook has a much larger reach (600 million mobile users compared to about 25 million for Foursquare), but offers an inferior search feature. The Facebook feature uses friends’ check-ins, recommendations, and likes to help users find local places, but because most Facebook users do not check in or interact with local businesses on the social network, the feature does not work optimally. This feature could be valuable if Facebook could convince more people to use check-ins and recommendations.

“A business needs to have a Facebook Page to show up on Nearby,” writes GigaOM. This means that although some listings may be automatically generated, businesses need to make a Facebook page for the service to work correctly. Facebook plans to incorporate third-party data to improve this problem.

Nearby also lacks the depth of Foursquare. Nearby allows users to view hours of operation and an address, and the ability to like the page, but Foursquare allows users to “save the place on a list, get directions, book a table and see a menu,” explains the post. “And if the place is part of a saved list, you can check out what other users also like similar to that restaurant.”

Foursquare has a more advanced search than Facebook because Foursquare uses data from 3 billion check-ins to offer personalized recommendations not just by friends, but by similar people and interests. By offering recommendations based on “tips, likes, dislikes, overall popularity, user loyalty to a location, and the local expertise of top visitors,” rather than simply friends, Foursquare offers a much more advanced, personalized service than Facebook.