Mobile apps are a big part of the modern travel experience and being able to offer the best selection of nearby activities seems to the winning strategy. Facebook and Groupon have both launched a Nearby feature as part as their free apps for iOS and Android, but the social network giant seems to be winning the battle now that it has recently rolled out an update of this feature.
Facebook’s new and improved Nearby allows travelers to search for close by restaurants, coffee, nightlife, outdoor activities, arts, hotels and shopping in each destination they visit. Other than just listing them all together, showing number of likes and telling you which friends have visited the recommended spots, the new Facebook Nearby allows for easy search by category, making it easy to filter through recommendations.
To make it more user friendly, the feature now allows you to access more specific sub-categories for each group, such as selecting breakfast, deli or ice cream within the broader restaurant category. Of course, the feature works best of nearby businesses have Facebook pages, as they then display more relevant descriptions of amenities.
While Facebook’s Nearby feature is perfectly suited for travelers looking to explore neighborhoods they’re staying in, Groupon’s feature is centered on deals, not so much on what a person might actually be looking for. Tapping into smartphone’s GPS feature, Groupon Nearby allows users to search for all deals around their current location, including those in the food and drink, events and activities, beauty and spa, fitness, health, home and auto, shopping and education categories.
According to USA Today contributor Dennis Schaal, Facebook’s Nearby feature is better suited for travelers, but it tends to favor businesses with Facebook pages, the details are not always consistent and when it comes to spotting bargains, it is not much helpful. Groupon’s version might be extremely easy to use, it’s not really travel oriented, some of the discounts are just flashy but not really significant and a lot of them require reservations, which is not ideal to help discover nearby attractions.