Looking for something to do tonight? Just check Facebook.
After renovating its Events section, Facebook will give users suggestions about where to go and whom to hang out with. Launching Saturday in iOS, Facebook’s Events section will make it easier to find events happening in your area through new features.
Facebook is implementing a filter in the Events section so users can search events by date, time, location, and category. Some categories include Music, Food & Drinks, Nightlife, Sports & Fitness, and Performing Arts. Users can also search in the “Suggested for You” section to see a personalized itinerary curated with Facebook’s data of user history. Events also underwent a makeover aimed at making the section more visually appealing and easier to use.
Many tech experts are predicting success for Facebook’s new feature, praising the social media giant’s ability to fill an empty niche.
“Facebook will blow this out so you can actually, actively search for something to do. And that’s more than can be said about popular apps that have traditionally been more focused on what’s going on in the community,” wrote Wired’s Molly McHugh. “I recently spent a Saturday morning looking through Yelp to see what was happening around me to no avail. If Facebook can unlock that, and also encourage my friends to go, it will have an easy advantage.”
Other companies such as Eventbrite and Foursquare have launched apps using similar business models, but they never took off. Songkick has found some success, but it is limited only to music events.
“But Facebook is the only company with near total knowledge of what’s going on and limited financial interest in steering you to one event over another. Combined with its personal data on what and who we care about, it’s the best at matching people to parties,” writes Tech Cruch’s Josh Constine. “Now, Facebook is waking up to this opportunity.”
While Facebook’s new feature will encourage users to spend time with other people, in person, at real locations, rather than online where the site earns money, a revamped Events section might bring even more users to the site.
“If Facebook plays these little mobile Event cards right, it could lock more users into its platform where it shows ads, become the best place to host the content people generate at Events, and even make money directly through sponsored Event suggestions,” argues Constine.
After launching the Events section over a year ago, Facebook was focused on private parties. But after Aditya Koolwal joined the company as the product manager for Facebook’s Event team, she realized that more than 50 percent of people used Events for public events, rather than private parties.
“We realized that we hadn’t really built a product that was for public events,” Koolwal told Engaget in August. “So we decided that we’re going to really pursue private parties and public events as two separate paths.”
The new Events section will also feature a timetable of events so users can organize their new, brimming social calendars.