— blending the mix

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 here 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  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  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!

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Paul Fabretti, Russ Hirst. Russ Hirst said: RT @paulfabretti: Facebook Places – nothing it should or could be http://bit.ly/9jru7W […]

  2. Alex says: September 20, 201011:14 am

    The video talks alot about bringing serendipitous events into Facebook, but to me this kills the joy of serendipity stone dead. My favourite thing, whenever I take a trip down to London, is bumping into friends. Every time I go down, I will usually bump into someone I know, and it’s great. I don’t want to know where they are – if I bump into them then that’s great. If I dont, well if I really want to meet them I’ll tell them I’m going to be in so and so place and actually make a proper date of it.

    Just about getting my head around Foursquare (it’s coupons for mobile) but I cant get my head around this just yet. The only logical step for Foursquare would be to launch a mobile ad network around this – then you’ve got a business model at least.

  3. PRBristolblog says: September 20, 201011:56 am

    I agree. I even think that once you get a few badges with Foursquare, there is no incentive their either.

    The only benefit I can see (and I have done this with 4Sq and Gowalla already in the past) is to post your location to Facebook so friends can find you at a bar / restaurant.

    I think that adding trip tips and photos to a location etc would be better, but I think this has been done before :)

    The only advantage Facebook has (which is huge) is that it has over 500m loyal customers to convert, where as the likes of Foursquare are struggling to get a few Million…

  4. kelvin newman says: September 20, 20103:09 pm

    Do people really use foursquare and gowalla for the competition element? I can see it being used on Facebook for people bragging or sharing where they’ve been but like you say it would make much more sense if it was integrated into the status update

  5. zhlwish says: November 11, 20106:45 pm

    I can not agree with you more

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