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Ecommerce

Facebook caught testing NYC beacons for social commerce boost

Wednesday 4 February 2015 | 02:34 PM CET

Facebook will be testing beacons in New York City in order to connect its mobile users to pages of nearby shops and landmarks via its social platform.

This service will be known as Place Tips and will require installation of beacons at eight New York shops, including the Strand Book Store, the Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien Hotel and Dominique Ansel Bakery, evigo.com reports. The service will also be tested in Central Park, on the Brooklyn Bridge, in Times Square and at the Statue of Liberty. However, at these locations users will be located via GPS, cell-tower triangulation and Wi-Fi signals rather than beacons.

Place Tips will place information from the shop’s Facebook page above the user’s smartphone’s news feed once the user comes into range. To opt out of the service, location services in the Facebook app can be turned off. Companies won’t hold on to any data about users’ locations after that point.

Facebook is testing the beacon service to offer users local content via smart phone. The social network currently has 1.3 billion members and beacons are a new trend in the growing digital presence and smartphones are helping it grow. This service is expected to blur the line between content and marketing, which Facebook is already doing by mixing advertisements into its news feed allowing ads to blend in. The goal is to get ads to blend in with the consumer experience.

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