Facebook wants check-ins to be more social, which could be good news for marketers.
Facebook is testing a new iOS feature that shows users related information after they check into locations or post activity-based status updates.
So if someone checks into Yosemite National Park, he might see a list of friends’ Yosemite posts and photos that friends have taken at Half Dome. Or if someone posts that she watched “Caddyshack,” a card will display showing who among her friends has recently done the same.
A Facebook spokesperson explained:
These cards can help you discover information about where you are or what to do next, or inspire conversations with your friends around you. This feature respects all existing privacy settings, and the card will only show you information that you could already see elsewhere on Facebook.
The feature borrows heavily from Foursquare’s check-in based related content and also feels similar to Google Now’s attempts to serve users relevant information before they know they need it. The difference here is that Facebook is serving tidbits from users’ social connections, which are likely even more relevant.
Facebook said the test is limited to “a small percentage of users in the near term,” but if it’s successful and rolled out widely, local businesses could benefit from those connections. And it’s easy to imagine Facebook offering ad products to place in the mix.