What is interesting about Facebook announcing their new Places feature is not necessarily that they were the first to provide location sharing but that they have a chance to bring location sharing to the mainstream.
Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that Places was designed with three things in mind:
1. - Let’s you Share where you are
2. - Help’s you see who’s around you
3. - Helps you discover new places around you
All though it is interesting to give people the ability to share where they are and discover who in their social graph is around them; It is the discovery of experiences with those places I find most intriguing.
I have used check in services before from Loopt, Foursqure and even Yelp’s recent feature addition. I always found it interesting that I could see who had been at my location, however what I was mostly interested in was what they did at that location. I was interested in what they ate and if they liked it. I wanted to know things they saw or did and if they enjoyed them. I was hoping I could find out what not to eat or do at my location. In essence I was hoping that those who had a positive experience at that location could help shape my experience so that it could be enjoyable as well.
The bottom line is Places adds the ability for people not to just share locations but to genuinely share experiences. By giving a location a digital place on their platform, Facebook has provided an opportunity for experiences with that location to be shared with others not only in the present but also in the future.
One other element about Places that is interesting is that it may now open the door for more economic value to and for Facebook. If owners of said location where I have just “checked in” may now present me with offers we may be looking at a whole new way of advertising. Because now it is my location that becomes the mechanism for what advertising I see.