IT SEEMED LIKE only a matter of time until Facebook figured out how to kill Yelp and Foursquare. The company’s been experimenting around the edges for years: It’s offered food ordering within Facebook, a “Professional Services” portalfor finding nail salons and plumbers on Facebook, even ways to pay for stuff on the social network. And Facebook always had one huge, seemingly unshakable advantage: Facebook is where people plan events, writes wired.com.
Even as Facebook transitioned from a beautiful place to share baby pictures with friends into an oozing sludge of fake news, memes, and FOMO, leaving the service behind remained all but impossible—because if you leave, you’ll miss the invitations to everyone’s birthday bashes, getaway weekends, and Friendsgivings. There’s no “out of sight, out of mind” quite as real as disappearing from someone’s friend list. So while you might want to be done with Facebook, you can’t help but keep one eye on it.
That’s why Local, Facebook’s latest standalone app, feels so thrilling. The app is essentially a way to find out what’s happening soon and nearby. It combines the things Facebook’s always done well—information about places, recommendations from your friends, cool things happening in your town—and puts it in one place. Not a place buried in Facebook’s main app, behind two menus and the chaos of your News Feed. In a blissfully simple, clean space, with all of the info and none of the high school exes.
The Local app is divided into three sections. The home screen offers quick searches for restaurants or drinks, plus a running list of events happening nearby that you might be interested in. (Mine’s currently enticing me to head to an Elf On The Shelf Scavenger Hunt, a Holiday Bubbly Walk, and a tree lighting. Happy holidays, everybody!) You can also see which events your friends have expressed interest in, in case you want to tag along.
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