Facebook dives deeper into Yelp, Foursquare world with Place Tips

The social network is testing a mobile-app feature that serves up information about wherever you happen to be. For now, it's iPhone-only.

Donna Tam Staff Writer / News
Donna Tam covers Amazon and other fun stuff for CNET News. She is a San Francisco native who enjoys feasting, merrymaking, checking her Gmail and reading her Kindle.
Donna Tam
2 min read

Facebook is adding more Yelp-like recommendation features to its mobile app for iPhone. It's testing Place Tips in New York. Facebook

With Facebook's latest recommendations feature, you may have to see your friends' vacation photos, whether you like it or not.

The social network announced a new feature for its mobile app that uses your phone's location services to surface more information about the places you visit. Called Place Tips, the feature draws on posts created from a place's page and from your friends. Now when you visit a location your friends have been before, Facebook will bring up their related posts and photos.

Place Tips is optional, and will appear only if you've given Facebook permission to access your location. The company will start testing Place Tips in the New York City area, using cell networks, Wi-Fi and GPS to determine your location. The network won't share your location publicly, according to the company. For now, the feature is only available for iPhone users.

It's another stab at building recommendations into your social-media experience, and a deeper dive into a market currently dominated by Yelp, and to a lesser extent, Foursquare. Facebook wants to make sure users keep coming back to its mobile app. Adding contextual, and personalized, location information is another way to hook users.

"Place tips will show you fun, useful and relevant info about the place you're at," reads a Facebook blog post.

If you visit a restaurant, for example, the business' page may show you popular menu items and upcoming events, in addition to your friend's photo of a favorite dish there.

Facebook has been consistently expanding its personalized recommendation features to take advantage of its growing mobile traffic. Nearly 84 percent of its 890 million daily users access Facebook through a mobile phone, according to the company's latest earnings report.

The network started showing you when your friends were having fun nearby in April, and then launched Place pages in November in hopes of building a database of businesses and activities for users.