Facebook Places allows users to check in to offline locations similar to other location-bastion social networks. The Places feature is available in Facebook’s iPhone application (Must have version 3.2.2 or higher) as well as their HTML5 mobile site. One change in Facebook Places is that instead of showing people who have checked in nearby, the application will display people near you that Facebook has determined to have relevancy to you.
Although the feature is now available in the newest version of the Facebook iPhone app, the company says it is still rolling out the feature and is not yet available to all users. Another interesting note is that Facebook, via an API, is going to provide developers access to some of the data from Facebook Places to integrate this new feature with outside applications. Additionally, it doesn’t seem like Facebook is out to “kill” other location-based networks. It will allow Foursquare and other major location-based social networks to push location information into Places so that a user can use Foursquare to check in on both Foursquare and Facebook Places.
If you are an Arizona based business, this announcement demonstrates that location-based social networks are transforming from a trend into a mainstream feature of social networking. Some of the initial developers using Facebook Places are social game developers like Booyah, who plan to create new social games based on location.
Facebook, similar to Yelp and other location-focused sites, is also allowing businesses to claim their location in Facebook Places. Once Facebook Places is available to you, add the location to your business. Once that location page is created, you will then have the option to “claim” it as the page for your business. It is likely that Facebook will launch many other marketing opportunities for Businesses on Facebook places in the future, so it is important to go ahead and claim your location now.
Facebook Places isn’t an attack on Foursquare, it is a direct attack on Google and Yelp. Facebook realizes that as retail business shift marketing dollars online, a huge opportunity exists.
Do you plan to use Facebook Places? If so give us a call and we can help you get setup (602) 283-3550.