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Facebook Now Fills You In on All the Places You Visit

The social network is adding a new geolocation tool to cater to its iPhone users.

Luciano Mortula/ Shutterstock

Facebook rolled out an iOS update Thursday that will feed you more information about the places you visit in real life.

The new tool, Place Tips, will surface posts and photos that your friends have shared from a location you’re visiting. If you’re at a restaurant or coffee shop, Facebook will also surface menu items or upcoming events from that location’s Page on the network.


Thursday’s update is Facebook’s latest attempt to utilize geolocation available on smartphones to improve the user experience. Facebook has allowed users to “check in” to specific locations for years, but added a Nearby Friends feature last April to help users connect more regularly with their friends offline.

Building geolocation features into the Facebook product has increased thanks to the company’s growing mobile user base. Nearly 1.2 billion people access Facebook from a mobile device each month, up roughly 26 percent from the year-ago number.

Place Tips also overlaps into another important element of Facebook’s service: Search. When the social network launched Graph Search two years ago, it did so with the hope people would turn to Facebook to find recommendations for restaurants and shopping from their friends. Now, Facebook is simply showing you this kind of info unprompted.

On Facebook’s Q4 earnings call Wednesday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that users submit one billion search queries each day, a number he found to be low considering the total user base is nearing 1.4 billion people. Place Tips may be a way to remind users of all the info available to them on Facebook and, in turn, inspire them to search more often.

Of course, the tool will only work for users who choose to share their locations with Facebook, which they do not have to do. Users who do choose to share their locations can also opt out of the service in settings.

Not everyone will see Place Tips right away. For starters, it’s only available for iOS users. Facebook is also testing the feature at major New York City landmarks, like Central Park and Times Square. There is no set timetable for when it will roll out to places and users in other parts of the world, according to a spokesperson.


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