Facebook is harnessing the power of its events feature as part of a new standalone app that lets users discover things to do in their city, and around the U.S.
The “Events from Facebook” app is available now for iOS, and is heading to Android soon. When you open the app, you can immediately see where your friends are headed, catch up on events announced by Pages you’ve liked, and view updates from events you’ve already signed up to via the home feed.
The app’s clean interface offers several distinct sections, alongside the home tab, that can be accessed by clicking the corresponding icons at the bottom of the display.
Tap on the magnifying glass option and you’ll be presented with an explore tab, allowing you to discover events by browsing through recommendations based on time, location and your interests. Here you’ll also find an interactive map that displays events happening around your location. Additionally, at the top of the section is a search tab that allows you to seek out events in other cities if, for example, you’re planning a road trip.
To transform you into the ultimate outgoing events-seeker, the app offers its very own calendar, that lets you easily organize your schedule. You can even add calendars from your phone and view them alongside your Facebook events, in order to avoid any potential mix-ups. Integrating calendars may even influence you to ditch your smartphone’s native calendar app in favor of Events, if Facebook has its way.
Despite its standalone status, the app is still tied to Facebook’s flagship social platform. Consequently, Events broadcasts your activity on Facebook by displaying the events you’re interested in and the events you’ve shared with your Facebook friends, even if they don’t have the app.
Facebook claims that more than 100 million people use Facebook events, and that hundreds of millions of events are shared on Facebook every year. Those kinds of numbers make the launch of a standalone app a no-brainer. Let’s just hope Facebook isn’t as forceful when it comes to promoting the app as it has been with its other offerings — although its heavy-handed tactics have worked in the case of Messenger, and Moments.
“Whether you’re looking for something to attend this weekend or just wondering what’s happening in your area, Events will help get you there,” states Aditya Koolwal, product manager, Facebook, in a blog post announcing the app.
The main question in terms of the app’s potential is how far is Facebook willing to go to get users to adopt it? It could risk a backlash if it makes the events feature exclusive to the app, therefore pushing the hundreds of millions of users who access it to its new product.
A quick glance at the recent history of events on the social network provides an indication as to how Facebook could build upon the app. In June, Facebook tapped a team of curators to create a “featured events” list, which may have already been integrated into the app’s explore section. Toward the start of the year, it was revealed that Facebook had filed a patent application to add a car-pooling option to its events pages, allowing users to indicate if they plan to drive to an event and offer rides to other attendees. It also wouldn’t come as a surprise if Facebook introduced more e-commerce features to the app in light of its partnership with Ticketmaster — the online retailer has been selling concert tickets via select events pages since April.
One thing you may not see on the app are political or religious events. Despite the use of Facebook by social activists to organize protest rallies both at home and abroad (during the Arab Spring, for example), it seems unlikely that the platform will direct users of the app toward such gatherings. Upon the launch of its aforementioned curated events feature, Facebook claimed it would “not include events primarily focused on politics or worship.”
Considering the app actually looks like a decent tool for organizing social gatherings, an inevitable expansion may not be entirely objectionable. Events by Facebook is now available to download for iOS in the U.S.