Last night, Facebook launched “Places”. You can see the announcement and launch video above. This new service from Facebook is similar to other Local Based Services (LBS) such as Foursquare and Gowalla, where you “Check in” at various locations and announce your presence. Places allows you to see where your friends are and share your location in the real world. When you use Places, you’ll be able to see if any of your friends are currently checked in nearby and connect with them easily. You can check into nearby Places to tell your friends where you are, tag your friends in the Places you visit, and view comments your friends have made about the Places you visit.
Facebook is working with a small group of LBS developers including Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp and Booyah to build Places check ins into their own services. However, Facebook is also launching its own Places API, which means that Facebook will eventually become the key platform on which other location based applications will be be built upon. This is huge for Facebook and no doubt worrying for Twitter and Google.
Places works in conjunction with geo location supported smartphones and allows you to:
- Check in and your Places update, which will appear on the Places page, your friends’ News Feed and your Wall.
- Tag the friends you’re with so they can be part of your update.
- Appear in "Here Now" to friends and others nearby who are also checked in.
- Browse status updates of friends checked in nearby.
[Updated] Facebook releases, “Why to Check In?” video
It will be interesting to see the uptake of businesses on this new feature. To help them, Facebook has released a short guide to help advertisers, you can read the guide below.
Places creates a presence for your business’s physical store locations- encouraging your customers to share that they’ve visited your business by “checking in” to your Place. When your customer checks into your Place, these check-in stories can generate powerful, organic impressions in friends’ News Feeds, extending your brand’s reach to new customers.
NB. Places is currently available on phones that support W3 geolocation.