Hungry and don't know where to eat? Bored and don't know what's on TV? Facebook is about to come to your rescue by bringing two new services to its mobile app: first, the ability to make dinner reservations, and then displaying tv listings for what's on that night.
Both of these services will be available directly from Facebook Pages, the company announced Monday.
The restaurant listings will come from a partnership between Facebook and OpenTable, and will allow users to book their reservations directly from that restaurant's Facebook Page. The new feature is set to become available for over 20,000 OpenTable restaurant customers across the country.
"The update represents a new way of discovering and booking great dining experiences, all within the Facebook mobile app. There's no need to visit a separate mobile site or open a separate app," Facebook wrote in a blog post.
As for the tv listings, those will be displayed on US primetime TV and movie Pages. The listings will be based on the users' time zone, and they will include the channel name, air time and a description of the show or movie.
"Millions of people are visiting TV and movie Pages on Facebook every day, especially on mobile. Providing listings information on Facebook offers timely and relevant information about the media content people care about most," said Facebook.
The two updates will be launching later this week, and the features will update automatically, requiring no additional signup or registration on the part of the businesses in question.
From Facebook's point of view, these updates are easy to understand: they will make the app more useful for its users, which will, in turn, get more people to use it, and to spend more time on it. More time on the app can equal more advertising, which is what it always comes down to.
Plus, this will be an incentive for more businesses to create Pages. There is no downside for Facebook in this deal.
From OpenTable's point of view, this will give the company a leg up on its competition, such as SaveTable, Livebookings, Matradee.com and Restalo, all competitors in the restaurant booking space.
There is also a company like NoWait, which allows customers to leave the host/ess their name as well as their cell number then, as their table becomes available they can get a phone alert to check in with the reservationist. The company raised $2 million in August of last year.
Now OpenTable will have a major advantage. Think about how much business a company like Zynga did in their relationship with Facebook. OpenTable just got access to a network of 1.5 billion people. Just like that.
Plus, it just became easier to use OpenTable as well, without having to use its app or even go to its website.
Personally, I already have an OpenTable account, but I don't use it often enough to justify downloading an app for it. But if I can make my reservation through Facebook, an app that I might have open anyway, I will be much more likely to use it.
Facebook and OpenTable have partnered before, launching the Places I've Eaten app on Facebook in February.
(Image source: https://www.facebook.com)