We already know that Facebook mobile search is going to keep developing in the immediate future, but some aspects are taking a little longer than we might have otherwise believed or hoped. Many marketing professionals wonder when Facebook is going to release a local search product, and the company recently took baby steps towards that. The company announced ‘Hello,’ a new caller ID/dialer app that also includes a local business search.
Even though the new app is going to allow users to block calls and connect people via Facebook, the most interesting part for marketing professionals (in the search area especially) is the fact that the app has a rather interesting local search component.
Find locally very quickly – an example
The new app also allows you to find businesses and people on Facebook, and then allows you to call with a single click of the button. Say that you have heard about a great new restaurant from a friend of yours. You use Hello to find out when the restaurant is open, you can get directions to the restaurant, and you can make a reservation at the restaurant, all without ever having to close the app.
Find the businesses that you want
You are able to search for a specific business by name, but category searches such as ‘sushi’ or ‘plumber’ are also possible. Even though the category search experience could use some work (there is a mix of several incomplete local business listings and Facebook contacts) it is certainly a start that people should consider for the future.
Once you locate the business that you were trying to find, that is where Hello becomes really interesting. By using Google Maps you can get directions from the app, or you can add the business to your contacts right away. You are able to see your friends’ comments and user reviews and ratings through the company’s Facebook Page as well. Even though it is not currently integrated into the app, it might be interesting to see if Facebook is going to add Messenger’s new business chat feature eventually.
Currently an unrealized offering
As it stands right now, Facebook Search is not really where it needs to be. Even though it is nowhere near the quality that it should be, there is a massive volume of searches on Facebook. According to the company, there are more than a billion mobile searches per day.
This figure alone should highlight the fact that Facebook has the potential for some tremendous revenue within search. Especially local search is going to be an untapped but significant opportunity for the company.
Even though it is strange to see that Facebook has yet to add a separate app for places (where people are able to see business information and ratings and reviews), it would be a start for the company to take a good, long look at the main Facebook app and improve the local search experience.
Even though people are undoubtedly going to use Hello to lookup local businesses, it is only an incremental and incomplete step towards Facebook offering better local search options. However, when it does, we know that Facebook is instantly going to be a force on the search market.