With smartphones and their applications now a major force reshaping enterprise and consumer IT, it should come as little surprise that Facebook, the world’s largest social networking site, is doing its part to embrace technologies that tap into the sorts of location-based services popularized by those devices.
Facebook’s new Places feature puts it squarely into competition with smaller firms like Foursquare and Gowalla, of course, which hinge on users “checking in” on bars, restaurants and other locations they visit. For Facebook, though, more is at stake than simply moving to thwart smaller, faster rivals: there’s new opportunities for advertising and developer tie-ins to be had, both key initiatives for the site. Datamation takes a look.
Social networking giant Facebook has unveiled Facebook Places, its long-anticipated, location-based feature. The service invites users to check into the social network by marking their location with a mobile device, offering the ability to connect with friends who might be, for example, at the same coffee shop or bar.
The new Places feature brings Facebook closer to direct competition with dedicated location-based social services like Foursquare and Gowalla, which are attempting to build a business around users checking in to the service. At the same time, those startups, along with the local listing and review site Yelp, are on board as early partners with Facebook in its new venture.