Facebook is updating its “Pages” on mobile. Now, if someone visits a page for a restaurant they like, they’ll have the option to make a reservation to eat at said eatery using OpenTable. Sure, you could always just open up the OpenTable mobile application to do this, but we think the general idea is that you don’t ever have to leave Facebook. You might see a special on lobster bisque crossing your news feed, for example, and can then book a reservation right from Facebook.
The strategy here is likely not to keep users away from using OpenTable separately, but rather from loading up Google Maps or another service and making reservations that way. If Facebook can show advertisers there’s real value in its network, it’s going to be able to continue to attract new customers. The only problem we see with this, of course, is that most people probably don’t open up Facebook when they are hungry. They’re probably opening up apps most associated with food, like Yelp or Zagat or some other review service.
Facebook’s rolling out the feature to iOS now, in addition to an ability that lets you search by hashtags. We’ll see if this takes off – can Facebook really compete with food apps?