Facebook (is going) Places
Have you heard? Facebook is set to roll out their very own location-based check-in service. You read that right. Facebook is creating their very own version of Foursquare or Gowalla or whatever other location-based service the kids are using these days.
Mashable, my personal favorite source for all things social, published today a field guide to using Facebook Places. But, the question remains, will you actually use it?
According to the Mashable poll, 28% of people who voted (1,253 out of 4,476) said yes, they would. Twenty-nine percent (including yours truly) said maybe.
It’s true, I love Facebook and it’s true, I might use Facebook Places, but there are few obstacles standing in Facebook’s path towards social world domination.
The first obstacle is that Facebook is a little late to the location-based game. I’m not saying it won’t work, I’m just saying this isn’t something new. Both Foursquare and Gowalla have been around since 2009 and each has a tremendous following, though Foursquare seems to have the edge with 5.6 million venues, more than half a million users and 22 million check-ins as of about April 2010.
The second is that both Gowalla and Foursquare allow users to link to Twitter and Facebook. So, if my Facebook page is already being updated with the location-based service I use, why would I switch to some beta-location application available only on Facebook? (Although, I must commend Facebook for playing nice since they are allowing Foursquare, Gowalla, Booyah and Yelp to link and push information back.)
The third is that currently, Facebook Places is only available on iPhones or smartphones with HTML 5 and Geo-location capabilities. Facebook plans to roll out Blackberry and Android versions, but haven’t yet announced those dates. I call #blackberrydiscrimination on that!
On the other hand, there are quite a few cards Facebook holds in their hand that may prove to be advantageous. The first is that Facebook is, by far, the most utilized social network. Facebook has more than 500 million monthly users who regularly adopt far sillier applications (ahem, mafia wars…farmville), so what’s one more?
The second is that Facebook Places is the new, shiny object. And, you know how people love those.
So, the question remains. Will you use Facebook Places?