Shortly before the holidays Facebook announced an enhanced mobile feature named Nearby which has the potential to grow into a dominant force in local search, if they get it right. Search Engine Land published a description of how Nearby works and why it could be the first step in a comprehensive Facebook search strategy. The All Facebook blog seemed pleased to publish 'what marketers need to know' about a feature set that combines benefits similar to Foursquare and Yelp amplified by Facebook's massive user base.
Foursquare responded within 48 hours by integrating the activity of Facebook Friends into Foursquare recommendations. This only applies to the Friend's activity on Foursquare and the challenge of using Facebook's own network to compete with it is obviously problematic.
The blogs talked about the growth potential of Nearby, but many were disappointed by its execution. Jon Loomer offered screen shots of the sometimes buried navigation before getting more excited about the possibility of integrating Nearby with Facebook Offers, Events and other functions that could make Facebook a default for mobile search.