Facebook Launches ‘Places’

Aug 19, 2010
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

We wrote an article yesterday on location-based services, and a new one has just been added to the mix: Facebook yesterday announced the launch of its long-awaited Facebook Places LBS at a press conference. They have outlined how to use this new feature in a blog post that went up yesterday as well. With Places, you can tap a “Check In” button to share your physical location with your Facebook friends. Your check-in will then appear on that location’s “place page,” on your profile, and in your friends’ News Feeds. Your friends can also tag you as being with them, after which you can remove that tag–similar to the way Facebook’s photo-tagging feature operates.

Using this new feature requires using a version of Facebook’s iPhone application or logging into its smartphone site on a phone that supports GPS auto-location. On the site, you should see a “Places” tab on its home page. The feature will be rolled out over the course of the day by regions. (as of the posting of this article, it doesn’t appear to be working yet in the Pacific NW)

Some are calling this new service a ‘Foursquare-killer‘, even though Facebook has partnered with popular existing LBS services including Foursquare and Gowalla. Places doesn’t appear to award badges for that extra competition of trying to become the ‘mayor’ of a particular location.

The advantage of Places from a recruitment standpoint is that people who were stepping gingerly into the world of social media by joining Facebook have just been thrown into the world of LBS by the Facebook developers. People will able to easily check into venues like, say, their places of employment, and as a result they will be leaving ‘breadcrumb’ clues of their interests and hobbies as they go through their days and check in at various places. This has been an interesting method of data gathering and profile development to me ever since LBSes hit the scene. As Leena Rao of  TechCrunch shares,

“With these sorts of incentives and a potentially hot new feature that will be put in front of hundreds of millions of Facebook members, what advertiser and business wouldn’t want to create a Places page? Many businesses have already been flocking to Facebook as both and advertising and marketing platform, and now they can have their address, map, phone number, PLUS all the public social activity that is going on at a location. A merged Places page will include a considerable amount of information, including the number of check-ins, who checked-in to a place, number of Likes, the Places’ Wall, and more.”

A cautionary tale to those who will try this out: be conscious of your check-ins. You are responsible for your own actions. I wrote an article a couple months ago about the outcry of privacy issues with regards to LBS – but those issues lay mainly in our own hands. Be selective of who you connect with, and take full advantage of the privacy settings that Facebook allows.

What do you think of the new Facebook Places feature? Do you feel it will prove to be helpful with sourcing candidates? Share your thoughts below in the comments.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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