The biggest story this week was Facebook’s introduction of their new location-based service Facebook Places. The service mirrors several of the services already available, like Foursquare, Gowalla and Yelp, and will enable users to ‘check in’ at restaurants, cafes and local businesses and alert their friends of their whereabouts. The product manager of Facebook Places, Michael Sharon, explained during Wednesday’s announcement that Places is “not a service to broadcast your location at all times, but rather one to share where you are, who you are with, when you want to. It lets you find friends that are nearby and help you discover nearby places.”
It has long been anticipated that Facebook would introduce a location-based service, given their expanding network and the increasing popularity of services like Yelp and Foursquare. Given Facebook’s user base of over 500 million people, this new service could have an impact on online marketers’ ability to directly address their target audience.
The announcement has created quite of bit of controversy within the blogosphere. Here are some of the arguments you shouldn’t miss out on:
What does this mean for marketers?
The Search Agents’ David Carrillo authored an article in response to Facebook’s announcement, which takes a closer look into the hype around Facebook’s Places and offers marketers strategic advice on how to best optimize their Places campaigns.
What does this mean for Google?
Tom Krazit points out in his article on CNET that if Facebook Places catches on, Facebook will be sitting on a goldmine of local advertiser information, which should make Google worried.
What does this mean for privacy?
Almost immediately after Facebook’s announcement, The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California expressed concerns over the new service, citing that Facebook once again failed to address critical privacy features. To read more, check out Jenna Wortham’s article in the New York Times.
For a more detailed account on where Facebook Places is already failing in terms of privacy, check out Ian Paul’s article on PC World.