Facebook Places: Feature to Know Your Friends’ Location

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Facebook has decided to implement a new feature in it’s addictive social networking site called “Places” which allows FB users to share their locations with friends & relatives. With this, the company has extended its reach into the real world from the virtual one at a time when there is significant concerns about privacy, which caught it in the wrong foot. Facebook however. expects acceleration in sales ad revenue with Places.

“Places” helps users of it’s social network to find friends and disclose their own location with the help of geolocation technology, and is aimed primarily at mobile users. “Places works with existing location-aware tools offered by Foursquare, as well as Gowalla Inc”., baby-faced CEO Mark Zuckerberg said today at an event hosted in their Palo Alto headquarters. He added; “Places will “help people stay connected everywhere they go, not just at their computer.”

While Facebook stopped short of announcing how it would make money off its location services, the move paves the way for the company to become a major player in the growing business to supply local information and advertising with teh help of augmented reality, rivaling efforts by Google. and others.

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The new service allows Facebook users to tap the location-sensing capabilities of their mobile phones to “check in” to a business or address and then instantly share it with their Facebook connections. The optional service will also allow users to find other people who have also recently logged their presence physically nearby.

While location-based mobile-app companies such as Foursquare Labs Inc. have drawn attention from early adopters and investors, Facebook’s entry into the market could help make the idea of sharing one’s location with friends and businesses become a mainstream service. The company already has 150 million users of its service on mobile phones, although the Places service will initially only be available on an app for Apple Inc.’s iPhone and through an enhanced mobile website.

For the existing generation of location-based Internet services, Facebook extended an olive branch by opening the location data that it collects to third parties. Appearing at Facebook’s announcement, some initial partners, including Foursquare, as well as Gowalla Inc, said they thought Facebook would be an enabler—not a competitor—by introducing a lot of new users to the world of sharing their locations.

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