JC Sweet and Co-Facebook Recommendations

Facebook rolls out recommendation feature that lets your friends tell you what to do

Facebook has launched new features it believes will make the social network “more useful in your everyday life.” Today, the company added a recommendation tool that helps you discover new places, events, things to do, and services around you by drawing on your friends. If you find an event to attend, Facebook has made the ticket-buying process more seamless. And when it’s time to interact with a business, there are new call-to-action buttons you can use.

Andrew “Bos” Bosworth, Facebook’s vice president of ads and business platform, describes it this way: “It’s Friday night, you don’t have plans, but you have a babysitter, and you’re ready to go. But what do you do? It’s an incredibly challenging process in 2016 to decide what to do, what to actually do, and then you engage in the problem of how to actually do it. We’re worse off now than 10 years ago, when we started to talk about this.”

He explained that people’s current workflow often requires the use of a series of apps to solve this problem of planning and executing activities. “It’s a time-consuming process of navigating what and how to connect with our friends in the real world,” Bos explained.

Locating things to do

With more than 1.65 billion monthly active users, Facebook believes it has the capabilities to solve these problems — from booking a ticket to opening up a line of communication with a business. This process starts with the recommendations feature, which is rolling out to users in the U.S. today. Regardless of whether you’re looking for places to go on your next trip, searching for the best salon around town, or looking for a good Mexican restaurant near you, recommendations from your friends are liable to carry weight.

Getting recommendations is as simple as composing a status update. Facebook will analyze the words that you use to turn on this feature. A post with “I’m looking for restaurants in San Francisco” or “Where can I find night clubs in New York City?” can trigger recommendations. From there, your friends can offer suggestions, and if they recommend any of the 60 million restaurants, businesses, service providers, accommodations, attractions, or venues with a Facebook Page, the system will automatically include the Pages in the comments.

“When someone is responding with a restaurant, when Facebook thinks it recognizes the name, we’ll make a suggestion to people,” Bos said.

Friends can save suggestions by essentially tagging a Facebook Page. Facebook will recognize the “object” and place it on a dynamic map that’ll appear in the post. Every time someone comments with a recognized place, that map will grow. It will also be visible to anyone, based on the author’s privacy setting. These maps are not ephemeral, meaning they’ll stay around until you manually delete them.

But what if a venue, activity, or service provider doesn’t have a Page? Well, you can create a listing for the business.

You can also affix “behaviors” to your status update, such as noting that you’re “looking” for something, but this has no bearing on Facebook’s recommendations algorithm. It’s all triggered by text.

All recommendations you’re given are collected in a dedicated section on Facebook, but, as of right now, you won’t be able to seamlessly “share” them with friends. This means that right now, if a friend also wants to know good things to do in San Francisco, you’ll have to send them a link to view your map (versus a more native option).

To read the rest of this interesting article go to venturebeat.com

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