Facebook Places – nothing it should or could be
So, Facebook Places went live sometime this morning. As I wasn’t on the 5 o’clock feed, I suspect I missed the fanfare announcement, but this morning woke to friends declaring “Joe Bloggs checked in at…” (p.s. I don’t actually KNOW Joe Bloggs).
And that was it. They checked in at…so that’s useful, very helpful and, er…well nothing else really.
Thanks to a VPN, I’ve been using Places since early September and found it to be nothing more than a pin in the online map of where I am, but hereÂ is Facebook’s version of what the system is supposed to do:
Furthermore, when you look at the Facebook App, you have to actively check in to tell people where you are, which to be fair is NO different to Foursquare or Gowalla but they at least incentivise and reward this behaviour. What reward or indeed incentive do you have to check-in on Facebook?
Wouldn’t it have been MUCH easier to integrate location-logging when you update your status with things Â you were already doing? Status updates, photo taking and uploading etc.? I always felt that one of the biggest advantages that Facebook Places would have is that it auto-tags location without you interrupting your activities – in this case, a disruptive technology is not actually adding ANY value to your experience.
Advertisers using the social ads system are also sat there thinking, wow, this delivers us ZERO added value. “So we can target users ON-SITE according to Â static location, but there is NOTHING that allows us to target people according to the Places locations they have been to”. And yes, I am fully aware that advertisers ads cannot be seen on mobile, but the layer of information that people’s Places check-ins would deliver to a web-based Facebook experience would be incredibly valuable in trying to bulk-out someone’s social graph.
I mean, Twitter was including auto-location (to those lucky few who were awarded it) even before they went all Facebook on us this week, so why can’t Facebook?
Perhaps this is in development?
In short, the Facebook Platform has the sophistication to have achieved much more for both users and advertisers alike but by simply allowing users to say where they are is missing a HUGE trick.
I sincerely hope that Facebook announce some additional benefits to Places today!