Facebook Launches Newest Social Networking Innovation

Posted on Aug 20th 2010

Facebook recently unveiled “Places”, their much-awaited geolocation feature.

How is it different from other location-based services such as Foursquare? Well, for one, Facebook boasts of 500 million users under its belt—beating its competition with mere scale. This means that Facebook is positioned to introduce the benefits of location sharing to a new and much wider audience. Now, you can check in at a place, share your location with friends, see who is nearby and add a place without having to sign up for another social networking site.

By default, when Facebook Places users check into a place, this information will only be shared with friends and not the whole world.  This reflects a different and more user-centric approach than Facebook has taken in the past.

Another distinguishing factor is that users can also be checked in by their friends.  Facebook intended this as an advantage—since not every person has an advanced smartphone, not every Facebook user can check themselves into a location for the time being;  by allowing people to check in their friends, more Facebook users can participate.  But people with privacy issues can turn off the ability for friends to check them in, but by default this is permitted.

So how do you use Facebook Places?

First of all, you or a Facebook friend in your group will need a smartphone. If you don’t have an iPhone, you’ll have to use the Facebook touch mobile site on a browser that supports both HTML 5 and geolocation.

Go to the Places tab on the iPhone application or touch.facebook.com and allow Facebook to know your location. Once you click “allow,” you’ll enter the Places interface. From there, you can share your location with friends, find out where your friends are (if they’re using Places), and discover new places near you.

You can add places, check in to places that already exist, and tag people who are with you. If you’re checking in for a group, make sure you tag your friends before you check in, yourself. For example, you can add your hotel and checked in there. You can also open the Places page for your hotel, tag your friend, and check both of you in there.

Soon, the company plans to roll out Android and BlackBerry versions of Places, but they haven’t released any specific dates for those releases yet.  It has not made its debut in Australia yet but we'll keep you posted when that day comes.

Would you want to use Facebook Places to promote your hotel?

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