Facebook finally launches its geo-location social app, Facebook Places, bringing location features to its 500 million users. You can checkin to locations, see who’s nearby your vicinity as well as tag the names of other Facebook friends who are at the same location. As a test, I checked in from the iPhone app and added Ideacodes as a location. To claim the location, you have to provide proof that you’re officially affiliated with the organization and upload business documents for review.
Admittedly, I’m not a heavy Facebook user. In fact, I only login to see what people are up to a few times a month. Mostly, I’m drawn to it as a way to keep in touch with my oldest friends from high school and college. While most of them aren’t on the early adopter social networks, they’re ALL on Facebook posting photos and witty status updates. Even though Twitter’s already mainstream, most of them aren’t on Twitter, but lots of them update their status on Facebook every day. So I’m sure we’ll start to see mainstream adoption (and also rejection) of location checkin practices given Facebook’s sheer reach.
At launch, a few other popular location services (Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp and Booyah) are using the API to push information back into Places. I’ve been using Foursquare for checkins since it launched and use Check.in to push to both Foursquare and Gowalla. I’m not convinced I’ll publish my location data to Places. My network on Facebook is spread all over the world and ranges from close personal friends to startup ceos to business clients to readers of my sites. If most of your Facebook contacts were local, then that would be a good way to keep friends up to date with where you are. That’s how I use Foursquare. On the other hand, I might start checking Facebook more to see where my friends (that aren’t on Foursquare) are ;)
Before you just start checking in without regard on Facebook, there are some issues you want to be aware of. Take a look at ACLU of Northern California on Facebook Places: Check This Out Before You Check In. As with all social media, it’s your choice to use it within your own context. If you decide it’s not for you, here’s an article at LifeHacker on how to disable this feature.