Facebook Nearby Becomes “Local Search”

Facebook PlacesLate last year I wrote a short report: Facebook Nearby: What Does It Mean for the Local Market? I speculated at the time that Facebook’s local opportunity was significant — provided that the company really “made the commitment.”

Nearby, its relatively new local-mobile search capability, has remained largely buried on the Facebook mobile app. Previously Nearby was a friend-finder tool. And the company hasn’t done much to publicize Nearby since it relaunched late last year.

It took a meaningful step in that direction, however, by renaming “Nearby.” It’s now being called “Local Search.” That makes much more clear what the use case is.

Facebook Local Search

According to the comScore-15 Miles-Neustar local search study, as I wrote a couple of days ago, Facebook’s mobile app was second after Google Maps as the place people go to conduct local searches on mobile devices. Remarkably it beat Mapquest, Bing, Apple Maps and Yelp in reach/usage volume.

comscore local search apps

Source: comScore-15 Miles-Neustar (4/13)

I was really surprised by these findings but these data were largely confirmed by a consumer survey I conducted independently.

Do you think that by changing the name of Nearby to Local Search that Facebook will boost usage further? Or do you think that Facebook will need to more aggressively promote and make the capability much more prominent in the app?

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4 Responses to “Facebook Nearby Becomes “Local Search””

  1. Shay Wright says at

    I’m surprised that Facebook’s mobile app was second in local searches on mobile devices. I didn’t realize it was that popular. Interesting. I think changing the name to Local Search will help. I do think they still need to more aggressively promote it and stake their place in the market. The local search pie is only going to get larger.

  2. Greg Sterling says at

    I was quite surprised as well. 

  3. Local Painter says at

    Arguably this is a game changer!

    My guess is that they have been slowly building up momentum on this for a while, and now they are ready to hit the big time.

  4. Facebook Home: The Local Angle says at

    […] doesn’t yet exist on mobile — but it will (confirmed informally by MZ today). Facebook yesterday changed the name of its in-app local search feature from “Nearby” to “Local Search.” Local search is a fundamental part […]

  5. Podcast Aflevering 19 (06-04-2013) - ReputatieCoaching says at

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  6. Peter Troast says at

    Greg–I do think it is a significant and meaningful shift, especially to non-storefront businesses. Nearby is relevant if I’m looking for a restaurant in walking distance. It’s much less so if I’m looking for a contractor to work on my house. For the service biz world we live in, Local broadens things a lot.  

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