- Facebook has announced a new app called Events, which is designed to help users keep up with nearby events and find things to do, the social media giant said in a blog post.
- Upon opening the app, users can easily see which events their friends are interested in, happenings that have been recently announced by the Pages they like and updates from events they are already connected to.
- An interactive map gives users a way to explore happenings nearby their current location or a specific destination.
The new Events app, which builds on related functionality already available on Facebook, points to how Facebook is looking to extend its services to ensure it remains relevant to users. By positioning Events as a standalone app, the social media giant may also be trying to attract younger consumers, one of its weak spots, who are interested in nightlife but don't use Facebook regularly.
The move comes as the latest indication that Facebook is eyeing a bigger role in search advertising and is exploring ways to integrate search into the user experience. In August, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company is planning to enter the search advertising business.
The social media company is exploring how to more tightly tie location and mapping — two features important for mobile users — in to the user experience. Mobile is an important user group for Facebook, with the site topping 1 billion daily active users on mobile and the company making 84% of its ad revenue from mobile this summer.
Mapping and location are important areas of focus for Google and others looking to monetize mobile traffic. Inserting an ad into maps with directions to a nearby location is one way marketers are trying to reach mobile users.
Connecting mobile users to local merchants has always seemed like a strong idea, given the on-the-go nature of much of the mobile experience. However, others like Foursquare have tried and failed. Facebook could potentially succeed where others have failed because of its large user base.
Facebook previously launched Messenger as a standalone app, building on capabilities within the core user experience.