InsideFacebook has announced that the name of its mobile app feature “Nearby” has been changed to Facebook “local search.” The name change completes the enhancement of the local search tool from a way to find friends to the addition of local business recommendations. The name change has been made on iOS but remains Nearby on the Facebook mobile site and Android app.
The most recent comScore-15 Miles-Neustar local search study names Facebook as the second most popular mobile app for local search behind Google Maps. Facebook has attained this status despite the fact that they have done little or no promotion of the new search functions and that many users are still confused about how exactly the search functions.
Bottom Line: Facebook and Google Plus are competing for dominance in the mobile local search market, and the beneficiaries will be local businesses savvy enough to take advantage of the opportunity and feature a mobile site or responsive website design for local mobile searchers. Complete Facebook and Google Maps and Google + profiles are a must have for local business, especially those catering to a younger demographic. Be sure to check your website stats to find out how many potential customers are accessing your business website on mobile devices.