Facebook today announced a new update for its iPhone and iPad mobile app focused on discovering new things in the world around you, deciding what to do or where to go and connecting with local businesses in easier and faster ways.
For starters, the app will now automatically collate recommendations for restaurants that your friends post on the service, identify posts asking for recommendations using artificial intelligence and even help you make reservations or appointments from within the app.
When you write a Facebook post looking for advice on places to travel to, local hair sallons or eateries and other businesses, a message pops up asking if you’d like to turn on Recommendations for that post.
Any comments friends post are identified by Facebook’s AI system and automatically mapped out and saved in one place. You can also go to your Recommendations bookmark on Facebook to ask a new question or help your friends.
Discovering local events happening around you is now easier than before thanks to an overhauled Events bookmark on Facebook. Tap it to see the latest events activity from friends and hosts and browse event recommendations based on what’s popular with friends or events you’ve connected with in the past.
“If someone suggests a business that doesn’t have a Facebook Page the system still adds them to the map, according to their addresses,” according to Engadget. “You can also go in and customize the map further, by adding and removing locations manually.”
If there are multiple businesses with the same name, you can edit the suggestion to pick out the correct one. Facebook says that the revamped Events dashboard will start rolling out in the United States “in the coming weeks”.
Other new features permit you to get more out of your local business interactions on the service, like the ability to order food or get tickets to movies and events—right from your favorite brand’s Facebook page.
The following brand interactions are supported:
- Order food: You can now order food from restaurants directly from their Facebook Pages. Simply click “Start Order” on any restaurant’s Facebook Page that uses Delivery.com or Slice.
- Request an appointment: For local businesses that require you to book an appointment, such as spas and salons, you can now request a time via the business’ Facebook Page and view their entire slate of services and offerings. They’ll then get back to you on Messenger to confirm your appointment.
- Get a quote: Some local business Pages will now have a “Get Quote” button at the top that lets you easily and quickly request a quote from the business.
- Get tickets to movies and events: For many new movies this fall, you can buy movie tickets straight from their Facebook Pages via Fandango. In partnership with Ticketmaster and Eventbrite, we’re also making it possible for people to get tickets to other events—free or paid—directly from the event page on Facebook.
Brand interactions are initially available in the US starting today.
“This is the first step, and over the coming months we’ll be launching even more new features that will make it easier to get things done, make confident decisions and communicate directly with businesses on your time and terms,” wrote the firm.
Engadget says that selecting a Request Time option on a local hair saloon’s Facebook page kicks you over to Messenger to pinpoint the date and time you want.
Some brand interactions are more tightly integrated than others.
Eventbrite, for instance, has a more integrated system that presents you with a QR entry code in the mobile Facebook app. “It gets the payment information from Facebook but all transactions are processed by the service in question,” as per Engadget.