GLOBAL – Facebook is launching its own location-based application Facebook Places, backed by Foursquare and Gowalla.
Facebook Places lets users share where they are and the friends they’re with in real time from their mobile device.
Users have the option to share their location by ‘checking in’ to that place to let friends know they are there. Users that are checked-in can also see which of their friends have checked in nearby.
In addition to posting a status update, users that have checked-in can also tag friends that are with them, similar to the regular tagging function for photos on Facebook.
Michael Sharon, Facebook product manager for Places, states there is a ‘People here now’ function that let users view other people in close proximity. There is an opt-in and out function to protect users’ privacy. This section is visible for a limited time only and only to those that are checked in there.
Depending on privacy settings, only friends can see other checked-in friends and users are given the option allow being tagged or checked-in by friends.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, adds that the main goal of Places is to help share where the person is “in a nice and social way”.
The check-in can also be published through Foursquare and Gowalla. Users can share their location with third-party applications that build an experience around the location like travel planning.
At present, users can check in to places, but not events, like a movies or concerts.