Last week Facebook announced a new addition to the number one social networking website called Places. Places allows Facebook users with a smart phone to “check in” where they are at in real time. If you are sitting in your favorite restaurant, going to a show, or just strolling on your favorite path by the beach you can now check in using facebook places.
For Facebook users you now have the ability to check in and share where you are at in real time with your Facebook friends. Each time you check in to a new location your check in is posted on your wall for all you friends to see. You can also view any of your Facebook friends that may be in the same location as well as tag friends that are with you in your check in. With Facebook Places you can also view where all your friends are checking in and add comments to their check ins.
The big debate that continues to go on surrounding Facebook is privacy. With the addition of Places this becomes even more of a concern for some users. If you are one of these users don’t worry, you can disable Facebook Places if you choose.
Location based applications are not new to smart phones or Facebook users. We have seen dramatic growth and acceptance in two similar applications Foursquare and Gowalla. Both of these networks are very different then what you currently see in Places. In fact Facebook Places has already been called totally boring by Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley as well as many Facebook users we have discussed Places with. As a business active in social media you should be aware of these networks as they provide you with valuable customer information and interaction. Recently we gave you reasons why your business should be participating on Foursquare and many these reasons will eventually carry over to Places. Until now Foursquare has been the leading check in location based application and only time will tell if Foursquare and Gowalla can survive against Facebook Places and it’s 500 million users.