Facebook is making a play to deliver better local information by rolling out a new feature called Place Tips. The feature will offer users helpful information in their News Feeds about the places in their proximity.
Place Tips will show up at the top of users' feeds when they are at places like restaurants, museums or landmarks, the company said in a blog post Thursday. Users can tap on Place Tips to open up a new page with various posts about the place they are at. These posts include items shared by their friends, such as photos, as well as popular menu items and upcoming events.
For now, the feature is limited to users with iPhones. It will first roll out in places around New York, including the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and many others. Facebook has not said if or when the feature will become available in other regions or on Android devices.
Place Tips will only show up for users who have given the Facebook app access to their location. The feature can be turned off at any time by going into the Facebook app's settings, followed by "Location" and then "Place Tips Settings."
Facebook has previously attempted to capture the local information market with the "Places" feature it rolled out a few years back, but it never really caught on. Local information is still a market dominated by Yelp, and by others like Foursquare and Google Maps. For Facebook, becoming a leader in local information is important as it could eventually help the social network deliver more mobile advertisements.
The Place Tips announcement also comes just one day after Facebook held its latest earnings call, in which it said that it hopes to increase its advertising business by delivering more highly targeted ads, which the company could accomplish if it has a better sense of where its users are.
"Our strategy is much less about increasing the volume of ads and much more about increasing the quality of the content and the quality of the targeting to get the right content to the right people," said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the company's earnings call on Wednesday.