Make us your home page
Instagram

Facebook to launch new location service

NEW YORK — Facebook users carrying their smart phones will soon be able to "check in" to real-world locations such as bars, parks and live concerts as the social network makes its first foray into the location services craze.

"Where are you?" is joining "What's on your mind?" as Facebook lets its users declare their whereabouts to their friends and to people nearby.

With the launch of Facebook Places, the world's largest social network joins a growing number of services that let users find coupons, earn quirky merit badges or simply share with friends where they are.

These location services from startups including Foursquare and Gowalla have grown in popularity with the widespread availability of smart phones that have GPS and other means of determining the user's location.

Facebook's version will initially work through the site's iPhone application; users will need to download a free update of the Facebook app.

Owners of other touch-screen gadgets will be able to get the feature through visiting touch.facebook.com on their mobile Web browsers. Facebook says it will add Places to other smart phone apps later.

As with any new Facebook product, there are privacy concerns.

However, following flaps created by earlier launches, "Facebook seems to be taking a more moderate approach to location sharing," said Jules Polonetsky, who co-chairs the Washington-based Future of Privacy Forum.

By nature, check-ins are "opt in" — that is, you won't be forced to check in to a location if you don't want to. When you do, your check-ins will be shared with your friends by default, but not with the broader public unless you decide to do so.

If you're out and about with friends, you'll be able to "tag" them using the "at" symbol (@). Your friends will then be notified that you have tagged them and can choose to check in, too, or reject it.

A feature called "Here Now" will let anyone who has checked in to a place see who else has done so. Other Facebook users who have checked in to the same location will be able to see you even if they are not your friends, but you can turn this feature off.

Though they are still new, location services present "endless possibilities" to businesses, eMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson said.

"Marketers want to reach consumers when they are at the point of making a purchase decision, and location services offer that opportunity," she said.

Facebook to launch new location service 08/19/10 [Last modified: Thursday, August 19, 2010 10:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Last steel beam marks construction milestone for Tom and Mary James' museum

    Growth

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom and Mary James on Wednesday signed their names to the last steel beam framing the 105-ton stone mesa that will be built at the entrance of the museum that bears their name: the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art.

    The topping-out ceremony of the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art was held Wednesday morning in downtown St. Petersburg. Mary James (from left), husband Tom and Mayor Rick Kriseman signed the final beam before it was put into place. When finished, the $55 million museum at 100 Central Ave. will hold up to 500 pieces of the couple's 3,000-piece art collection. [Courtesy of James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art]
  2. Heights Public Market to host two Tampa Bay food trucks

    Business

    TAMPA — The Heights Public Market announced the first two food trucks for its "rotating stall," which will feature new restaurants every four months. Surf and Turf and Empamamas will be rolled out first.

    Heights Public Market is opening this summer inside the Tampa Armature Works building.
[SKIP O'ROURKE   |   Times file photo]

  3. Author Randy Wayne White could open St. Pete's biggest restaurant on the pier

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG — The story begins with Yucatan shrimp.

    St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, pilot Mark Futch, Boca Grande, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, and author and businessman Randy Wayne White,  Sanibel, exit a Maule Super Rocket seaplane after taking a fight around Tampa Bay off the St. Petersburg waterfront, 6/28/17.  White and his business partners are in negotiations with the City of St. Petersburg to build a fourth Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille on the approach to the St. Petersburg Pier with a second event space on the pier according to White. The group met near Spa Beach after a ground breaking ceremony for the new pier. "We want to have our business open by the time the pier opens," said White. Other Dr. Ford restaurants are located on Sanibel, Captiva and Ft. Myers Beach. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
  4. Guilty plea for WellCare Health Plans former counsel Thaddeus Bereday

    Business

    Former WellCare Health Plans general counsel Thaddeus M.S. Bereday pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the Florida Medicaid program, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set, acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow of the Middle District …

    WellCare Health Plans former general counsel Thaddeus M.S. Bereday, pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the Florida Medicaid program, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set, acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow of the Middle District of Florida stated Wednesday. [LinkedIn handout]
  5. DOT shows alternatives to former Tampa Bay Express toll lanes

    Transportation

    TAMPA — State transportation officials are evaluating at least a half-dozen alternatives to the controversial Tampa Bay interstate plan that they will workshop with the community over the next 18 months.

    Florida Department of Transportation consultant Brad Flom explains potential alternatives to adding toll lanes to Interstate 275 during a meeting Wednesday at the DOT’s Tampa office. Flom presented seven diagrams, all of which swapped toll lanes for transit, such as light rail or express bus, in the I-275 corridor from downtown Tampa to Bearss Avenue.