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Top Town Tips - Facebook Revamps Recommendations from Friends


Facebook is all about sharing things with your friends. Often this entails posting cryptic song lyrics that hint at your emotional depth, commenting on hilarious memes like "Tag someone who is a potato," or spraying out holiday photos under a cursory "sorry not sorry." Occasionally, though, our interactions with friends concern actual useful things that spill out into the real world. One of the ways this happens is through recommendations. You know the type of post: "anyone know a good Ethiopian place in SE London!?!?" (Actually yes, Zeret Kitchen is the best). Facebook is now improving the way we ask for and give recommendations with some new features that streamline the process.

We trust our friends, family, and contacts to provide us with recommendations of things that we'll like as we hope that their tastes in some way align with ours. Rather than having to ask across messages, status updates, and groups, Facebook is making it possible to to pull all these recommendations together in one place, simplifying everything.

When you create a post asking for advice, say, on the best doggy hairdresser in the area, you can turn on the recommendations feature. Then, any comments your friends make on the post can be automatically mapped out and saved. Facebook is also rolling out a recommendations bookmark so all of your recommendations can be condensed into one place, making it easy to find Short Bark and Sides just when you need it.

Find out where you can get this done. Find out now.

Once you get these recommendations, Facebook is implementing a strategy to improve the way we act on them and interact with local businesses (and presumably to further monetise this relationship in the future). Integrating many services into a single app is a direction that many of the larger networks are beginning to take, a trend actually popularised in China with the WeChat app. On WeChat, users can get recommendations, get directions to the restaurant, order food, take a photo of it, pay for it, leave a review, book a taxi home, and rent a movie, all from within one app. You can see why Facebook and others would love this approach, offering the opportunity to keep users from ever straying from their domain.

To start with, this tendency manifests itself with a few new options that you can use within the Facebook app, mostly from the pages of the businesses themselves. You can order food, schedule an appointment, request a quote or book tickets to movies and events:
This makes it clear that Facebook is moving in the WeChat direction. Your friends can recommend an event for the night (show off that new mane at the Doggy Fashion Show - just don't call it a catwalk) and you can book tickets for it without even leaving the app. This ties in with the improvements they are pushing to the events side of things, with a revamped events dashboard and even a standalone events app to harness the 650 million monthly Events users. It will also be even easier to see your friends' events and browse suggested ones, which in turn feeds even more users into the booking services currently materialising.

I kind of like where this is all going. Soon I'll be able to get woken up, served coffee, driven to work, driven to a restaurant, order my food, pay, get driven home, and watch a movie all from within the safe cocoon of my Facebook world, narrated by Robert Downey Jr. Actually that sounds like a terrifyingly detached, monotonous existence with only the mere illusion of choice. No change there then!



With a master’s in Literature, Sam inhales books and anything readable, spending his working hours reformulating the info he gathers into digestible articles. When not reading or writing, he likes to put his camera to work around the world, snapping street photography from Stockholm to Tokyo. Too much of this time spent in Japan teaching English has nurtured a weakness for sashimi, Japanese whisky, and robot cafés. Follow him @SamF_Songbird


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Top Town Tips - Facebook Revamps Recommendations from Friends Reviewed by Sam Franklin on Friday, October 21, 2016 Rating: 5

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