Facebook places launches in the UK today after running in the US for the past month. Now placing the obvious security issues to one side for now (AKA Getting robbed) lets just take a second to consider what this means for the average Facebook addict. It has always seemed to me that at it's core Facebook is about meeting up. whether its planning parties, holidays, events or trips. Sharing the photos and videos from those events (and odd picture of your cat) or discussing what happened last night down the pub. the point is that Facebook has always been about discussing our offline lives, not that Facebook becomes our lives! With Places the final piece of the social puzzle is carefully slotted into place, giving the possibility of last minute and near-real time meetings, banter and pub crawls to ensue.
It will be interesting to see whether it does take off, as there are some critical factors that come into play. Firstly, changing or more to the point creating a social trend. Although Foursquare and Gowalla have taught people the social function of 'checking in' they are yet to break into the truly mainstream. As brands such as Dominos, Starbucks and even Evans Cycles have got involved in incentivising these social actions, there has certainly been a game change in geo-location land, however Facebook places currently offers none of the gaming or rewards elements that the more established platforms do.
Facebook's scale and inevticable advertising plans may well bring location based social media to the ciritical mass it needs to become another part of our online vocabulary, but I have a slight feeling they are trying a little too hard to play a game that many people still don't fully understand. Until then we will have to wait and see... i'll Check In with you later.
Over To You...
Do you currently use any location services currentlly?
What do you think of Facebook Places?