CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook Places today. We’ve known this has been in the pipeline for some time now but today the details were revealed. Facebook places allow users to check-in at different locations and share that with their friends. So basically Facebook is adding only one new piece of functionality that’s not already available with other services. This is the ability to check-in not only yourself, but also other friends that either can’t be bothered themselves or don’t have compatible devices. What is most compelling about Facebook offering location is that it’s Facebook. 500 million people and pretty much everyone you know is already on Facebook, unlike early location-service adopters.
What was originally thought to be the death of existing location-based services like Facebook and Gowalla, turned out to be very different. Rather than the 500 pound gorilla squash competition like a bug, they’ve decided to partner with Foursquare, Gowalla and Yelp. Now admittedly these services didn’t really have much of a choice, it was partner or be put out of business. Facebook also announced an API for Facebook Places that allows for 3rd parties (or partners) to utilise location information coming from Facebook.
Image credit: Tech Crunch
All this is great except for the fact that its only launching in the United States. Worse yet, Facebook don’t have any timeline for an international release. Even more temptatious is the release of an update iPhone application complete with the Places menu option that results in a disappointing “This feature will be available in your region soon. Thankyou for your patience”. Frankly my patience with US-only launches is running out.
We’re living in an international marketplace and online companies are operating in it, yet we continue to put up these false walls at a nations borders. Understandably technology rollouts need to be tested, but this relates to volume, not geography. After the revelation that there’s no roadmap for an international rollout, my interest in the announcement died.
More info @ http://www.facebook.com/places/