Facebook testing 'Place Tips' location-based service in New York

Context is important, and Facebook knows it. Scale is also important, but Facebook already has that one figured out with their billion-plus users. Combine the two, and you just might have a formula for success on several different levels. In New York, Facebook has placed beacons around the city in an attempt to better understand the locations of their users. Their reason? A new feature in the Facebook app, called 'Place Tips', will soon give you contextually based information based on your location.

Mixed with your friends' photos and SlashGear articles found in you feed, you may also see location-based information. If you've given the Facebook app permission to know your location while using it, simply logging on might give you info about your surroundings.

That's the reason for those beacons in New York. Connectivity isn't always the best in cities, but beacons, which connect via Bluetooth, can tell an app where you are better than GPS. Your proximity to the beacons matters, not what tower you're pinging from. According to Facebook, the beacons have been placed in various bakeries, bookstores, and restaurants in the city.

This location-based feature isn't simply to give you info about your surroundings, of course. While Facebook is stepping on the toes of services like Yelp, we should also expect them to use their massive user-base and knowledge of our whereabouts to better serve their already fruitful advertising initiative. A bakery might sign up to provide a coupon via Facebook when a user is nearby, which would be great for you, the bakery, and Facebook, as they'll undoubtedly take their cut.

The feature is currently limited to New York (and iOS) while Facebook tests it out. If proven popular, expect to see location-based info in your News Feed very soon.

Source: Facebook