Facebook’s unveiling of Facebook Places is an obvious banshee cry to Foursquare and other location-based check-in services. As with those services, Facebook Places allows users to share their location and discover new hot spots by following the stops of people in their network.
Well, Facebook’s latest feature, Facebook Places, is an attempt to make your life a little bit easier. Places is a location service that allows you to share your whereabouts with your Facebook friends in real time. The new application is very similar to other social media location services including Google Places and Foursquare.
Although, Facebook is yet to confirm how it is planning to integrate Facebook Places with Facebook’s business pages, but we all know that the company is working in this direction and once it happens its effects will be there for everyone to see. Places will give an opportunity to the companies to market and promote their services using Facebook.
Facebook Places is a more open way of sharing your location than its leading competitor, Foursquare, says Wortham, partially because the service is open to your entire network of Facebook friends unless you change your settings. You can not only share your location, but tag other people’s locations if you are with them or happen to see them in certain place. While that might be a great way to keep in touch with friends, Wortham says it is also a “ripe opportunity for mishap,” if you are trying to stay under the radar.
Also, Foursquare currently has a slight edge in its real-time stats feature that logs such information as the most recent customers, the frequency of their visits, gender breakdown and the tips visitors have left. (By contrast, Facebook Places currently only shows who has checked into a location.) A business – and its competitors — could glean valuable intel from this data if Foursquare did more to make it visible.
Wortham says that while Facebook Places is already catching some heat from privacy rights groups, including the ACLU, the social media giant doesn’t have anything to worry about just yet. The new service does make it very clear how to change your options and always gives you the ability to not allow people to tag your location.
All said and done, all location-based check-in companies will find it very tough to survive once Facebook incorporates enough Foursquare-like features in Places and there is no denying the fact that the world’s largest social networking site will do that in the coming months.
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