Facebook Places Launched

The social network giant that is Facebook has added a new feature allowing its members to share where they are while they are on the move.

‘Places’ as it is named is the culmination of many months worth of work, said company founder Mark Zuckerberg, who was also quoted as saying “This is meaningful because you can stay connected with your friends around you“.

Using Places on hand-held devices such as the iPhone and other smartphones, users will be able to tag themselves and their friends on Facebook. For example, when checking in at a restaurant, pub or football stadium, users can alert their friends via this new feature. To tag friends, they must have agreed to have their location broadcast widely.

Users can remove themselves if another user has tagged them. There is also an option to disable the feature if they are not interested.

Check-ins will be broadcasted in user’s status updates and will appear in a variety of places, including the pages of a user’s friends and the Places page for that location.

Places is initially only available in the USA through Facebook’s iPhone app and its smartphone site. Facebook plan to extend the feature to all of its 500 million+ members as soon it they can.

The product uses the GPS on smartphones and works by getting users to click a “check-in” button, bringing up a list of places near where they are. From there they are able to match their location and “create a story” in their friends’ News Feeds within the social network.

It’s early days, but the new feature is predicted to become a multi-million pound market when it comes to targeted advertising and promotions at people based on their proximity to a business. Facebook estimates that more than 150 million of its users access the social network via a mobile phone.

Privacy Concerns

The world’s largest social network has received criticism in the past over the way the company has handled its user’s privacy.

Users have controls over what and how much information they share on the service. Facebook have said Places is about “broadcasting to your friends, not the whole world“.

 

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1 Comment

  1. What’s the point of these check-in things anyway? This maybe seems a bit more sensible than Foursquare due to the inherent idea of only sharing with your friends. I don’t know why someone would want to share their location/activities with the general public to be honest. Maybe it’s the modern equivalent of setting up a Livejournal and making posts about dinner plans and supermarket shopping.

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