Facebook Add Travel Planning to Their Arsenal with 'City Guides'

How many of your Facebook friends are currently off travelling? How angry/jealous/crestfallen do their posts make you? Yeah, I figured as much. Well now, travellers can not only irritate their friends with selfies with the Taj Mahal in the background, but actually plan their next trip from the ground up. This is thanks to a new feature - City Guides.

It lives under the 'More' tab in the app, and it functions in an awfully similar fashion to Foursquare - it shows you areas of interest in different cities. The difference is that it extracts data from Facebook profiles, showing you where your friends have checked in. This way you can get an idea of which areas/places are best based on what you already know about your friends' tastes and preferences.

Of course, if the vast majority of your friends are local, and travel-shy, this isn't going to do you much good. There's not a lot of benefit into researching places to visit in Morocco if you only know one person who's actually been there, you'll just end up mimicking their holiday. Facebook remedy this by also including a 'Places the Locals Go' list, showing the highest rated spots from people who live in the area.

This function also includes information about what people like about the place. Say if it's a bar, people might be saying they like the cocktails, the prices and the music, and that's what you'll be told in the summary. You can save locations, or even save cities, and as you scroll through the guides, you can also look at events and popular tourist attractions like monuments, parks and the like.

I'd say that City Guide has as much, or even more value when you're already in the city in question as it does when you're planning on going there. If you're inter-railing, or doing some other kind of international trip, you might not know exactly which city or town you'll end up in day to day. This could certainly help with that.

At the moment, however, only major cities are listed, which still places it behind Foursquare in terms of practical value. Facebook haven't said anything about expanding the size of the app, but it's easy to pinpoint what the issue with that is - people have to be checking in. In cities, it happens constantly, but in smaller settlements it's much less common. If they find a way to expand the service with this in mind though, it could become one of the app's most popular features.

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