One of the most popular companies on Earth has doubled down on travel in a big way.
The company—Facebook—recently made travel guides available in a new version of its mobile app. These new guides offer a list of cities your friends have recently visited, who went where, and recommendations of places to go and things to do based on your friends’ picks. An article last week on TechCrunch detailed the newfangled technology and deemed the new approach a legitimate challenger to a similar recent travel-guide effort from Foursquare.
According to a story from Mashable, usability on the new Facebook feature is fairly straightforward. Each city guide appears above a Facebook Messenger-style (read: bubble icons) menagerie of local friends who have visited in the recent past. If you click on a friend’s individual icon, the app calls up a list of places that friend went when he or she visited the destination.
Included with each city guide is a feature that lists where locals like to go. These suggestions round out the guide outside individual users’ circles of friends.
Each item also has a bookmark icon, which lets you save pages to a separate list of favorites.
Facebook, based in Menlo Park, California, isn’t offering many on-the-record comments about the guides, but Emilie Fetterley, a company spokesperson, noted in an email statement that the redesign really was engineered with the travel lover in mind.
“This content already exists on Facebook, and during this test, we’ll be centralizing it in a way that is more personalized and relevant to [users],” she wrote in an email Monday afternoon. “So, this new feature can help people get a better sense of their city, or a city they’re visiting through their friends’ eyes.”
As the TechCrunch story notes, the new City Guide feature is especially exciting if you’re a travel nut; generally speaking, users who have friends who travel often will likely have some of the most interesting feeds. The feature now is available to everybody.
Users can find the City Guides feature in the “Explore” tab of the new Facebook app.
Matt Villano is a freelance writer and editor based in Healdsburg, California. In nearly 20 years as a full-time freelancer, he has covered travel for publications including TIME, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Sunset, Backpacker, Entrepreneur, and more. He contributes to the Expedia Viewfinder blog and writes a monthly food column for Islands magazine. Villano also serves on the board of the Family Travel Association and blogs about family travel at Wandering Pod. Learn more about him at Whalehead.com