Goodbye Facebook Nearby, hello Facebook Local Search. InsideFacebook points out that the company has renamed its mobile app feature “Nearby” as Facebook “local search.” Until late last year, Nearby was a friend-finder tool. Then it became a way to find local business recommendations.
But, many users are undoubtedly still unaware of the change in functionality. The name change will help. But, Facebook will also have to make the new local search capability more prominent and do a better job of reaching out to users to get them to engage with the tool.
Yet, Facebook is already one of the most used mobile apps for local search — the second after Google Maps — according to the recent comScore-15 Miles-Neustar local search study. These findings are relatively surprising but directionally confirmed by a survey I conducted independently.
All this comes largely without Facebook promoting Nearby/Local Search. Imagine what could happen if Facebook really concentrated on making its local search experience competitive and invested heavily in promoting it.