Facebook updated both its Android and iOS apps with the ‘Nearby’ feature on Monday; the feature helps discover businesses close to where you are.

According to Facebook, this update will try and make it easier for users to discover places favoured by friends nearby. Previously, when users used the Nearby function, it would merely list out businesses and landmarks nearby to check in to. Now, however, this list will be sorted by relevancy, taking into consideration likes, rate, recommend and check in at places by friends.

Users themselves can share their own recommendations of businesses like restaurants and theatres with their friends now. The more friends rate and recommend businesses, the more personalised this feature gets.

Find more places recommended by friends nearby

Find more places recommended by friends nearby

This is an early release and there’s lots more to do. Results will get better the more people use Nearby, and we’ll continue to improve it based on feedback. We also plan to add places info from third party services in the near future,” said Facebook in its blog announcing the feature update. Facebook, of course, is planning to make ‘Nearby’ a feature that will attract businesses to list themselves on Facebook.

Earlier in June, Facebook very sneakily introduced a function called ‘Find Friends Nearby.’ With this new addition, the social giant wanted to take a step ahead with its mobile offerings as the feature was aimed at Facebook apps and its mobile site. As soon as the news of the feature reached users, it started facing criticism and was termed as a creepy and stalking app by some users. The social network was quick to pull out the ‘Find Friends Nearby’ feature that used GPS signal in phones to help find friends, within a couple of days before it got noticed by many others.

On the other hand, Apple seems to be in talks with Foursquare to share maps data with them about local businesses, something that could threaten Facebook’s latest update. Apple’s Senior Vice President Eddy Cue is said to have been meeting with Foursquare representatives over the past few weeks to determine how the social network uses data to find locations and business listings. According to the Wall Street Journal, this is the latest sign of Apple's plans to integrate local services more tightly into the iPhone and iPad. The discussions with New York-based Foursquare come as Apple has been talking to a number of companies that collect local data to improve its new mapping product.

Apple is working to be independent of Google on all fronts, and abandoning Google Maps for its own solution is one of the major moves the company has made. Earlier, Apple was dependent on data from Google to point out nearby establishments. But Apple now seems to be building its own local search listings to incorporate into products like Maps and Siri. This is said to be more strategic as users get information directly, bypassing search services like Google. The move to get Foursquare into the fold seems to be a move further in that direction.

Update Facebook on your iOS and Android devices to know more about this feature.

Publish date: December 18, 2012 12:07 pm| Modified date: December 19, 2013 5:53 am

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