In a much anticipated announcement yesterday, social networking powerhouse Facebook fired another shot hear around the world. Make that the online world of “checking in”. With the unveiling of Facebook Places, the company enters the hot and volatile war for geo-location supremecy.
Facebook Places is designed to let users include their location in their status updates, using the GPS on the user’s smartphone. Whether you are going to work, the movies, or lounging at home, you can let your Facebook friends know where you are. Apps like FourSquare (the current king), Gowalla, and Brightkite already do the same and are wildly popular. What makes Facebook Places such a threat to the market however is the sites already eye-popping number of users. Facebook comes out of the starting gate playing to an almost captive audience of a half-billion users!
Facebook Places also has some tempting features for those who like geo-location. First and foremost is that your location is added directly to your Facebook status. we all know how important those status updates have become. Second is a unique tagging feature that lets you tag other Facebook friends who may be at that location with you. It’s like an instant party invite to other friends who may be in the area. Finally, Facebook Places has privacy in mind in that only your approved friends can see where you are. The Facebook team were ready with the great features on day one.
Facebook Places is immediately available in the USA and will soon be coming to other countries. It will be interesting to not only see where this goes, but how the competitors will respond. With the explosion of the geo-location craze, the world just keeps getting smaller.