Facebook enables location services called "Places" [Update]

Techcrunch is reporting that Facebook has annouced that it's brand new location service goes live tonight, dubbed "Facebook Places." The new service is similar to that of Foursquare, and allows users to check in, as well as geotag photos to a location.

The integration was actually leaked slightly early today, as shown by Techcrunch in the below screenshots, and Facebook says that the rollout begins tonight with the iPhone app, as well as the "Facebook Touch" website. Mark Zuckerberg says the service has three purposes: "[To] help you share where you are. Help you see who's around you. And see what's going on nearby."

The service will allow you to tag people in photos and status updates at the location, and allows you to check in people who might not have an advanced phone with GPS, so that friends are included. Once your friend tags you in, you click "Allow" on the normal Facebook Mobile website and it's as if you checked in yourself. The company also goes on to point out that you can only check your friends in with you when you arrive, and that you can't tag people if you aren't friends with them.

It seems that Facebook is trying to avoid the previous privacy fiasco's they've encountered, and have heavily emphasised the fact that the service will be friends-only from the very beginning, and you will be able to remove any checkin from your profile easily. In addition to this, the user is able to specify who can and can't see the checkins.

Third party applications will be able to utilise the technology, with the read-only API becoming available tomorrow, and the Write and Search API's in closed beta. For more information on the API, visit the developers website.

Update: It looks like Android users will have to wait a while for their update, with the interviewer saying "for Android users touch.facebook.com is good enough."

Update 2: Facebook Places is available to US users only for now.

Update 3: Facebook uploaded a video explaining "Why Checkin?"

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55 Comments

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Its really sad the number of people who find it acceptable for the lack of privacy on websites anymore. In my opinion, everyone is a fool who is using Facebook. It might be ok if you could enter fake information, but they have it now so that you have to even enter in a cell phone number just to make an account on Facebook. Its none of their damn business. They also limit what email accounts can be used so that you can't use one of the spam or temporary email accounts.

Its just sickening the number of people posting here constantly defending Facebook over their lack of privacy. Why doesn't the Facebook founder give all of us his personal telephone number, and install cameras in every room in his house so we can see everything he and his family does, since he appears to think this behavior is fine.

Lexcyn said,
Ugh maybe I will just delete my Facebook account. There is a reason I didn't sign up for Foursquare.

Because it's so unbelievably hard to click the "opt-out" button, right?

People these days. So lazy.

Looking at this news story on CNN and USAToday...everyone including on here are in agreement...not one of Mark's better ideas. My comment on those pages were that you watch..someone will sue facebook claiming they never gave out their location..yet someone showed up at their house and ended up raping them..and this new feature will be to blame.

I have a feeling Mark won't keep this feature on here long...not unless he wants a big fat lawsuit on his hands from someone.

texasghost said,
Looking at this news story on CNN and USAToday...everyone including on here are in agreement...not one of Mark's better ideas. My comment on those pages were that you watch..someone will sue facebook claiming they never gave out their location..yet someone showed up at their house and ended up raping them..and this new feature will be to blame.

I have a feeling Mark won't keep this feature on here long...not unless he wants a big fat lawsuit on his hands from someone.


What you, CrapNN, UShitAToday, and the rest dont figure out that this is optional. I do not agree with this feature at all but I am just pointing that out.

The updated iPhone app seems to completely break the majority of the functionality. There are loads of complaints in the app store reviews about this happening. I'm getting the same problem too.. I logged out, now it just errors when I try to log in again.

In the video, 0:21 - iPhone is searching for reception. LOL!!

Hello AT&T, how do I check-in into a bar, if there are no bars on my cellphone?

Also, if there's not reception.. how does facebook find whats around me?

WhoTheF said,
In the video, 0:21 - iPhone is searching for reception. LOL!!

Hello AT&T, how do I check-in into a bar, if there are no bars on my cellphone?

Also, if there's not reception.. how does facebook find whats around me?

Look closer. It's connected to WiFi.

WhoTheF said,
In the video, 0:21 - iPhone is searching for reception. LOL!!

Hello AT&T, how do I check-in into a bar, if there are no bars on my cellphone?

Also, if there's not reception.. how does facebook find whats around me?

I think.....you need to look closer at the video.

Elliott said,
Look closer. It's connected to WiFi.

My comment was intended at places where there is no WiFi. And I don't think being connected to wifi itself can find the location you are at without your cellphone reception. Or am I wrong?

WhoTheF said,
In the video, 0:21 - iPhone is searching for reception. LOL!!

Hello AT&T, how do I check-in into a bar, if there are no bars on my cellphone?

Also, if there's not reception.. how does facebook find whats around me?


What's so funny about a mobile phone looking for reception? I don't get this humor sometimes.

Anyway, as with all web services on all mobile phones: If there is no reception *or* WiFi, you can't access the Internet. Maybe this comes as a shock to you. The solution is to relocate yourself to a place where there is Internet accessibility. For example, one option is to check in to a place before you physically enter the bar. However, from experience this is rarely a problem. You can usually at least connect to Edge where I live. This is no different than what can happen with Gowalla on e.g. an Android/iPhone, and is related to neither software or hardware.

Edited by Northgrove, Aug 19 2010, 8:47am :

WhoTheF said,

My comment was intended at places where there is no WiFi. And I don't think being connected to wifi itself can find the location you are at without your cellphone reception. Or am I wrong?


Yes, that's a wrong assumption. First, the bars on a phone has nothing to do with GPS reception. You'll usually have 100% perfect GPS reception if you have a clear sky even far out in the wilderness where there may be poor phone network reception, for example.

Second, at least the iPhone caches the last received GPS position, so if it loses it as you move indoors (which is common, since while GPS isn't sensitive at all about geographical location, it is much moreso about going indoors), it knows roughly where you are despite having no GPS reception.

WhoTheF said,

My comment was intended at places where there is no WiFi. And I don't think being connected to wifi itself can find the location you are at without your cellphone reception. Or am I wrong?


I usually have reception, but yes, location services work without cell sevice. The iPhone has WiFi positioning and a real GPS.

WhoTheF said,

My comment was intended at places where there is no WiFi. And I don't think being connected to wifi itself can find the location you are at without your cellphone reception. Or am I wrong?

Yes, you are wrong. The iPhone has a GPS, but besides that point, wifi can easily be used to create your general area.

Elliott said,
I've been checking the App Store. Nothing yet.

According to what they said, its due out 'later tonight'. I don't expect it to show up for another 3-4 hours yet.

Epic0range said,
MG Siegler? god what a tool.

My first thought was "why is he using location services" because if people get wind of where he's located, I guarantee there will be violence.

the_guy said,
Anyone know if there will be an option to permanently disable this?

There will be an option to "opt-out" all together, so even people who tag you at a location won't appear.

Andrew Lyle said,

There will be an option to "opt-out" all together, so even people who tag you at a location won't appear.

That's what I wanted to hear. Now to do that on the Touch site and the Android app when it comes this way...

the_guy said,

That's what I wanted to hear. Now to do that on the Touch site and the Android app when it comes this way...

You will just need to set it once, I'm sure Facebook will alert you once its available to adjust your privacy settings.

Blasius said,
Might as well name it the "please rob me" feature.

If you're worried about being robbed, you need to start pruning your friends list and taking a better look at your privacy settings.

I can control who logs into my friends accounts?

You hear about people who secure their information, but some weirdo uses another friends account and boom, you're missing a safe and a tv.

Why use the feature if you're going to lock it down to where only 3 people see it.

Blasius said,
I can control who logs into my friends accounts?

You hear about people who secure their information, but some weirdo uses another friends account and boom, you're missing a safe and a tv.

Why use the feature if you're going to lock it down to where only 3 people see it.

You have paranoia issues *makes mental note not to add Blasius*

zoonyx said,

You have paranoia issues *makes mental note not to add Blasius*

You know what actually, he does made a point....we can NEVER control how other people - our friends or not how treat their privacy !!

Better not tell anybody when you go on holiday
"They" might steal your whole house.

I'm sure nearly everyone has posted something like "I'm at X and it's Y!!" on facebook or twitter.

Blasius said,
I can control who logs into my friends accounts?

You hear about people who secure their information, but some weirdo uses another friends account and boom, you're missing a safe and a tv.

Why use the feature if you're going to lock it down to where only 3 people see it.

I don't know what kind of friends you have, but I only add people I know, not just "hey aren't you that one guy I saw at the place with the thing like so many days ago".

LiquidSolstice said,

I don't know what kind of friends you have, but I only add people I know, not just "hey aren't you that one guy I saw at the place with the thing like so many days ago".

uhh, yeah. So do I. You seem to have missed the point of my post.

Blasius said,

uhh, yeah. So do I. You seem to have missed the point of my post.

And you seemed to miss the point of mine. If you're worried your friends might rob you because they know you're not at home, then you're making the wrong friends, it's as clear as night and day.

LiquidSolstice said,

And you seemed to miss the point of mine. If you're worried your friends might rob you because they know you're not at home, then you're making the wrong friends, it's as clear as night and day.

You're still not getting it. I can't control how my friends manage their FB. I can only control my account. Filtering my friend list so it is down to my best friend and my mom still wouldn't help, because in the end, how they secure and manage their account is up to them. If Johnny Doe gives his friend his password, and that friend is a shady character and views my profile, how can I control that. Now was that so hard?