Facebook keeps people in touch with friends that are scattered across the globe. The company continues to add features that allow people to stay in touch with each other, and one of the latest features is the “Places” application. The app allows users to “check in” to a location via their smartphone or laptop, letting their friends know their whereabouts or what they’ve been getting into lately.
Take this scenario as an example: You are grabbing some coffee at a local coffee shop, and decide to let everyone know where you are. You can “check into” the location, and any friends that search for people that have checked in, will see your location. If they’re in the area, they might drop by. Maybe it sparks some conversation between you and a Facebook friend about the shop itself or another comparable shop in the area. Regardless of what stems from your check-in, the sharing of information continues.
How it Works
Similar to Foursquare, another popular locating application, Facebook Places allows you to identify your location at any given time. When you do so, you will see friends that have checked into nearly locations, facilitating a possible rendezvous. Use of the application may vary given your digital platform, but users of the iPhone, Blackberry, or Andriod will find the service very user-friendly. On the iPhone, for example, you can simply open Facebook and click on the “Places” tab. The rest is quite simple.
Are There Dangers?
Aside from letting everyone know where you are every second of the day, there aren’t many things that should spook a Facebook Places user. You can avoid being accidentally tagged into a location by having the device require your approval before you are officially posted in a location. In light of the privacy issues, remember that “checking in” is voluntary, and there may be some social downsides to letting everyone know your whereabouts all of the time.
How Businesses Benefit
Business owners absolutely love this idea, as it gives them advertising every time someone passes through their door. When someone with 300 Facebook friends checks into a local pizza parlor, all of their friends may ask at a later date, “Hey, is that place good?” If the answer is yes, that business may have just gained another 15 or 20 customers. Having your business listed isn’t a free reign situation, however, as Facebook requires all businesses to undergo a verification process to protect themselves and inhibit any copyright legal issues.
Facebook Places is giving users the same service that Foursquare offers without needing to leave the social networking page. By creating an all-inclusive social online experience, Facebook continues to showcase their willingness to embrace new concepts, and at times, snag an idea or two. In the end, what’s created is a website that can give the digital social networker everything they could want. It is easy to use? Of course. Is it fun seeing who has checked into the area? Absolutely. Do you enjoy the questions from your girlfriend the next day? Probably not…