Android Apps

Facebook Places check-ins to location awareness industry

August 19, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka

Lifestyle, Travel


Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp, and the ilk ought to be nervous. Really nervous. Why? Facebook unveiled its own check-in service called Facebook Places last night.

Places is a location-aware service to find your friends, let them know where you are, and discover who and what is around you. It has already launched on the iPhone app and will appear on the Android version “soon.” Here are 5 quick things to know about Facebook places.

1) You can see who else has checked in; and others can see you

Places includes a “People Here Now” that shows who has checked into that location or event. Keep that in mind when you’re checking-in. There will be an option to not be involved, but you’ll have to disable it.

2) You can check-in friends; friends can check you in

Um, Facebook, not cool, dude! I don’t want friends to be able to check me in, yet you’ve included this as an option. Thank you for being smart enough to let me refuse these invitations one-by-one or block it all together by going into the privacy settings and disabling “Friends can check me in to Places.”

3) It’s supposed to be available at right now

The Android app has yet to get Places inclusion, but you should be able to access it on the mobile site. I say should because I’ve checked on my EVO and it has yet to be updated. Facebook said the change would take effect today, so I’ll try again later on today and search for the “Check-in” button.

4) Foursquare isn’t dead…yet

Foursquare and Gowalla have always linked with Facebook by announcing check-ins as status updates. They now have official partnerships with Facebook through Places API. One of the first changes to emerge from this development is that a check-in on Gowalla will appear as a Places check-in rather than a status update.

These partnerships could also push these companies out in my opinion. It was hard enough competing against each other for the check-in crowd, but now Foursquare, Gowalla, etc. are competing with the biggest name in social media. Sure, reps from these companies sounded upbeat at the announcement of Places since they are in “partnerships” with Facebook, but ask all those Twitter app developers how those partnerships ultimately end.

Social media blogger and Tri-Out strategist Wayne Sutton doesn’t seem too threatened, and he knows way more about this stuff than I do. Let’s hope my cynic side loses out and he’s right.

5) Places Bings it out!

We know that Bing Maps is coming to Android soon. Now we know that it’s also come to Facebook Places. Locations are pinpointed through Bing Maps in Places; nothing major but cool to notice.