Facebook Places and the fight over location

Posted by Andrew on August 22, 2010

Facebook launched Facebook Places this past week as was expected by everyone. Over the course of the week I learned a lot of interesting tidbits about Facebook and the location based services niche as a whole. One interesting factoid is that when Facebook first launched on college campuses you could tell which set of dorms someone had posted from on their wall. This was done by pulling the location data off of the IP address, which is also how FourSquare started their service before tapping into GPS.

There was also a lot made of Facebook bringing Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp and others on stage during the announcement to talk about how they are partnering with Facebook. Gowalla was enthusiastic but Foursquare continues to have a wait and see mentality. The Foursquare CEO commented that if Facebook thinks location check-ins are a good idea that it just confirms what Foursquare users are already doing.

The day after Facebook announced their new service the number of new users signing up for Foursquare shot up. This was pointed to by many in the media as a sign that people took notice of Facebooks interest in location and wanted to check out the current hot shot on the block Foursquare to see what all the hullabaloo was about. Then there were the logical ones among us who pointed out that just because B happend after A does not mean that A caused B. I guess we can't know for sure either way.

I for one took the time to revamp my Privacy settings on Facebook to not allow others to check me in to locations or share my location with others but "Me" since a flat out No Thanks for the location service is not an option.