Facebook has finally taken the plunge into location-sharing with its Places feature, but what did the commentators make of the latest annuncement from the world’s most popular social networking site?
“Appearing at Facebook’s announcement, some initial partners, including Foursquare and Gowalla, 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.”
“I don’t want to preemptively say that Foursquare is about to killed by Facebook (we would never say Facebook would kill anything … except here, here, and of course here). However I’m not quite sure what value-add Foursquare brings to the table at this point. Badges? That already exists on Facebook. Perhaps check in tips? Maybe, except that’s pretty much accesible in the new Places product.
“Foursquare happened to be the highest profile company to speak at the event because they were the most at risk of being damaged by Facebook Places. Dennis Crowley, CEO of Foursquare, is still optimistic however, despite appearing to be left in the dark on this one. He told VentureBeat, ‘If Facebook thinks that location is a good idea, then we are on to something.’ Yes Dennis, you were definitely on to something, which is why Facebook just took your idea.”
“Users can ‘report’ a place page that they believe violates Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, but Facebook does not say how quickly place pages will be reviewed or what the criteria for removal might be. In addition, official representatives of a business will be able to claim their place pages using the same verification system in place for fan pages. (A fan page administrator will also be able to merge his or her place page with the official fan page on Facebook.)
“We hope that Facebook has a plan and doesn’t intend to do this kind of place maintenance by the seat of its pants. Otherwise, the Places feature could get messy in its first iteration – we’re imagining check-ins from anywhere from the home of a teenager and her unsuspecting parents to ‘the internets’ and ‘your MOM’S LOL!’ ”
“With these sorts of incentives and a potentially hot new feature that’s will be put in front of hundreds of millions of Facebook members, what advertiser and business wouldn’t want to create a Places page? Many businesses have already been flocking to Facebook as both and advertising and marketing platform, and now they can have their address, map, phone number, PLUS all the public social activity that is going on at a location. A merged Places page will include a considerable amount of information, including the number of check-ins, who checked-in to a place, number of Likes, the Places’ Wall, and more.
“And by creating a social directory of local businesses, Facebook can turn on another massive revenue stream. We know that ad spending on Facebook is expected to be around .3bn in 2010 but Places could boost this significantly as Places lets Facebook tap into the market for local advertising.”
“So Facebook, between the hoodie, the gong and this I’m starting to think you guys are just baiting me. And while I do not think this was intentional, I’m once again way too sober to opine. I’ll let our resident MobileGear humorist Greg Kumparak take it from here: ‘Bahaha. It’s a 4. In a square. And on that night, tongue and cheek were reunited.’ ”
“Last time my friends checked me into somewhere, I woke up in a padded room with a single light bulb and a bunch of ink blots. Never again, folks. Never again.”
“[...] Facebook also allows you to bar others from checking you in, and lets you hide yourself from others’ ‘Here Now’ listings, though you can’t customise this latter setting by, say, allowing only some people to know you’re nearby.
“In my tests, these settings worked fine. But I wished a couple of other settings were available. For example, you can’t keep check-in notices off your Facebook page, unless you broadly block other kinds of status updates. And you can’t block merchants from including your check-ins at their establishments on their Facebook pages. Also, while Places omits some annoying aspects of its competitors, like the game features, it’s more stripped down and leaves out some attractive features others include. Foursquare has a feature that lets you leave suggestions about a location. And Gowalla has a ‘trips’ feature that lets users string together places they’ve been into recommended tours.
“Overall, I found Places a good enhancement to Facebook and one that will likely make the booming social network even more attractive to some.”
“So-called location-based services, or LBS, are vying for a slice of revenue for mobile advertising, which is expected to soar in the US to .1bn in 2013 from 0m in 2009, according to market researcher BIA/Kelsey. Driving the growth are sales of smartphone, which are expected to account for a majority of phones in the US by the end of 2011, market researcher Nielsen says. About 5% of the more than 225,000 iPhone apps have location services.
“On that score, Facebook has a huge advantage: More than 150 million of Facebook’s 500 million members access the social network from their mobile devices.”
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