Thursday, August 19, 2010
Last night Facebook launched 'Places' their new location-based feature.
Similar to Foursquare and Gowalla, it allows you to check in at places you visit - for example bars, cinemas, airports, stations...
You can see it on the mobile app above. It won't let me check in at the moment, but I'm sure I will in the next few days.
Clearly this will increase the number of people checking in. Foursquare and Gowalla have tiny (although influential) levels of reach compared to Facebook. According to their most recent figures they have more than 150 million people using Facebook on a mobile device.
Foursquare and Gowalla will survive, as they have a less mainstream audience, and their own features and promotions.
Facebook will soon start to do retail deals based on their new feature, like Foursquare are currently doing with Gap.
There will also be lots of embarassing situations (& worse) caused by people sharing their location. Oh - and I think we urgently need a new etiquette of cheching in! (e.g. not if you're going for a job interview, not if you're meant to be ill, arguably not in churches, and so on).
It will also underline how you need to know WHY you usespecific services. I use Foursquare to keep a track of places I go to, and for a bit of fun. It's useful to know that I've been to my local bakery 14 times in the last 3 months (kind of...), but not so useful (as I see it) to know that I've been to work every day this week, which is why I don't check in at my office. The increased use of location services like Places mean that people need to know why they use it, before they do.