Sunday, August 22, 2010

Newsy: Facebook Places: Critics Weigh In

Facebook is hawking its latest add on, a location-based app called “Places.” It lets users post their location like a status update.
“You can now say, ‘I’m here’ and you know, if people want to join you, they can. It’s a great way to let your friends know in kind of a lightweight way if they want to come and meet you.” (Facebook)
Facebook is hawking its latest add on – a location-based app called “Places.” It lets users post their location like a status update – and connect to nearby friends. Despite plenty of competing apps like Gowalla and Foursquare already on the market – Computerworld says Places still has potential: “Facebook offers one clear advantage over the competition: Critical mass. With more than 500 million users around the world, chances are your friends are on Facebook, and they're not on competing location-based services.”
A tech reporter for CNBC also notes Facebook’s size – saying it could be a blessing or a curse: “It means everyone, including all 500 million of Facebook’s users, had better start thinking about the implications of a future where friends, businesses and others can pinpoint your location.”
According to a tech expert on Tampa Bay’s WTVT – businesses already have big plans for Places users: “You’re in the supermarket and you pass by the barbecue sauce. It might flash up on your phone: Buy this barbecue sauce and you get $1 off, like an instant coupon because they know you happen to be standing in the barbecue sauce aisle.”
But a writer for Business Insider is more worried about annoying cousins than barbecue coupons clogging up his news feed: “No offense to certain distant relatives or distant in-laws, but we don't really care or need to know if you're at the grocery store in California. And frankly, sometimes we don't want you to know where we are.”
Finally, on ZDNet, a writer says some of Places’ features could become problems when it comes to your privacy: “…guests at a party at my home could turn my home address into a public ‘place’ on Facebook….I also didn’t like the idea of letting my friends ‘tag’ me at their locations. …Yes, I have to give my permission first and yes, I can also ‘untag’ myself - but who wants to be a party pooper like that?”
Places is a free add-on available for iPhones, iPod Touches and Androids. So do you plan to use Places?

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