Facebook to test Bluetooth beacons in New York

Facebook's Place Tips show nearby attractions in news feeds
LOCATION: Facebook’s Place Tips show nearby shops and attractions in news feeds

Facebook has unveiled a new service called Place Tips that works with Bluetooth beacons, WiFi and GPS to show the social network’s iOS app users “useful and relevant” information about the places they visit.

Those who have given the social network permission to access their location on their mobile device will automatically receive Place Tips, without having to actively opt-in to the service. Location services must be enabled for Place Tips to work and the service can be turned on or off from the settings inside the Facebook app.

Place Tips is to be tested around a number of locations in New York in the “coming weeks,” the company reveals, and Bluetooth beacons will be installed in a “handful of businesses” across the city including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Dominique Ansel Bakery, Strand Book Store, the Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien Hotel, Brooklyn Bowl, Pianos, the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop and Veselka.

BLE: Facebook-branded Bluetooth beacons send location signals to nearby smartphones
BLE: Facebook-branded Bluetooth beacons send location signals to nearby smartphones

“Facebook Bluetooth beacons are devices that businesses receive from Facebook,” the company explains. “These beacons use Bluetooth technology to send a signal to the Facebook app on your phone to help up show you the right Place Tips.”

The service is also going to be available in locations including Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square, the Statue of Liberty and JFK Airport through Wi-Fi and GPS.

“Place Tips may show up at the top of your news feed when you’re out and about,” Facebook adds. “When you tap on Place Tips, you’ll see a series of cards with info about the place you’re at. If you choose to view Place Tips, you’ll find things like posts and photos your friends have shared with you about that place.

“You can also see information about the place including posts from its page, popular menu items and upcoming events. You can turn Place Tips off or on at any time in your settings or just hide tips about specific places. Place Tips only appear if you’ve given Facebook permission to access your location on your phone.”


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2 comments on this article

  1. Great post Rian. Thanks for sharing. With many industry experts having predicted that proximity marketing is all set to take hold in 2015, it is no surprise that Facebook took a step in this direction. In fact, Facebook’s move into proximity marketing could definitely be game changing for brands that are looking for a wider audience reach. Particularly because most consumers today being already inundated with push notifications from different brands on a daily basis and the relevance of content send to the current context of the consumer is of paramount importance. By integrating Facebook beacons with deep insights on the needs and preferences of consumers, as gained from the pages he or she has liked, the photos that he or she mostly views etc, brands can collect invaluable data points around which engaging notifications can be tailored. We’ve discussed other ways brands can benefit from Facebook beacons here: http://blog.mobstac.com/2015/02/3-ways-brands-can-benefit-from-facebook-beacons/

    1. Good point! And with the Facebook app’s near ubiquity, the company has a huge advantage. Anyone’s beacon network is only going to be as good as the distribution of the app that works with it. Facebook has this one nailed.

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