Facebook Places

Facebook, the world's biggest social network, launched their geo-location service which allows you to share your real location to connect with friends nearby.

Facebook, the world’s largest social network, with over 500 million users, rolled out its geo-location service yesterday, called Facebook Places.

Facebook’s geo-locations service allows you to see where your friends are and share your location in the real world. When you use Places, you’ll be able to see if any of your friends are currently checked in nearby and connect with them easily.

The new features are similar to other location startups such as FoursquareYelpGowalla and Booyah.

At the Facebook announcement, Foursquare like Gowalla and Booyah, had a presence on the stage, claiming integration with Facebook. But Foursquare says the company hasn’t committed to anything because the team still needs to try out the service, according to VentureBeat.

The Facebook Places announcement was ironically the biggest day ever for new Foursquare user signups. Foursquare is on its way to three million users, according to Foursquare head, Harry Heymann.

The only features Facebook declined to duplicate were the “Mayorships,” merit badges and other incentives earned by users who check in to Foursquare and similar services regularly.

Facebook says that business owners can search for their business in Places. If there is a Place already created, there is a process to claim ownership of it, and if there isn’t already a Place, the business owner can create a new Place for the business. Of course, a business should have a Facebook page to take advantage of it.

To get started, you’ll need the most recent version of the Facebook application for iPhone. You also can access Places from touch.facebook.com if your mobile browser supports HTML 5 and geolocation.

The introduction of location-based services into the world’s biggest social network will pretty much mark the end of all competing apps, says Lance Ulanoff in PC Magazine.

Places is only available in the United States right now. But they expect to make it available to more countries and on additional mobile platforms soon.

Some highlights:

  • With Places, you control what you share and the people you share with. You choose whether or not to share your location when you check in at a place. When you check in, you can tag friends who are with you but only if their settings allow it. When you are tagged, you are always notified.
  • Only your friends can see when you visit or are tagged at a place, unless you have specifically set your master privacy control to “Everyone.” You also have the choice to set more restrictive customized settings.
  • When a friend tags you through Places, you will receive a notification on Facebook and on your mobile device. The first time this happens, you’ll be given the choice to allow your friends to check you into places.
  • When your friends check you in, it is as if you have checked in at that place yourself. You also will appear checked-in to your friends. If you do not allow friends to check you in, then when they tag you at a place, your name will appear in the same way it appears in a tagged status update. You will not appear checked-in at that place.

You can remove any Places check-in or tag using your mobile device or on the web. You also have the choice to turn off the ability for friends to check you in at Places. Go to your Privacy Settings and turn off the setting to “Let Friends Check Me In.”

Facebook’s free social networking service has become a world-wide sensation, now with over 500,000 users. It lets you create profiles with photos, lists of personal interests, contact information and other personal information. Communicating with friends and other users can be done through private or public messages or a chat feature. Users can also create and join interest groups and “like pages”, some of which are maintained by organizations as a means of advertising

Google is expected to launch a social network called Google Me before the end of the year. Google has recently acquired a game-oriented virtual currency company called Jambool, a social gaming company Zynga and a social networking apps company Slide. Google had previously acquired the microblogging service Jaiku.

Google Maps has added location apps. You can share your location with friends using Google Latitude and then publish your location to the web with the Google Public Location Badge. With Google’s Place Pages, you can now pick a nearby place and check opening hours, review snippets for the places around you and more.

Written by: Luke Pensworth

Luke is the managing editor and site manager of Dailywireless. As a wireless enthusiast/consumer, he reviews a lot of services based on his own experience. Disgruntled as he may be, he tries to keep his articles as honest as possible.

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