Geolocation has finally made it to Facebook. From now on, around 150 million Facebook users (those who access the social network via their phones) will be able to share their locations thanks to the new Facebook Places functionality. It’s not a new app, but a new feature in the latest version of the Facebook app for iPhone. And though it’s currently only available in the United States, we’ve already know some of its features.
Facebook Places will allow you to share the places you visit with your friends by checking in to them when you arrive. You can also add a couple of lines to your update to provide more information, and tag your friends along. Like Foursquare or Gowalla, if the place you just visited is not available in Facebook places, you can add it yourself. The “People here now” feature enables you to see who’s in that place, though this information is only visible for people who have checked in to the same place, and only for a limited period of time.
Regarding privacy, Facebook provides you with all the configuration settings you need to keep Places as public or private as you want. You can block friends from tagging you in their check-ins, disable your profile from appearing in the “People here now” list, control who sees the places you’ve visited and remove any Places check-in or tag at any moment – just like you do with photo tags.
Facebook Places doesn’t seem to have a badge system like Foursquare, but third-party apps will be able to use its data to build more enriching experiences about locations – think about trip planning, restaurant reviews and so on. Like I said before, Places is only available in the United States, but Facebook expects to roll it out to other countries very soon.