This week saw an overhaul of both Facebook privacy settings and Facebook location features. For a great overview, check out this post from Inside Facebook.
Both sets of changes are a huge step in the right direction for Facebook. Bringing privacy and sharing settings inline on a user’s Facebook profile clearly enables users to have much clearer control over what content is shared and visible to different groups. Any feature that increases trust and control for social sharing has to be commended.
There has been quite a lot of press coverage and speculation around the changes to Facebook Places, Check ins and the introduction of Facebook’s location tagging feature. Some industry press sources are pretty negative with the misinterpretation being that Facebook Check in is dead and Foursquare is the winner. There is another train of thought that Facebook are “doubling down” on their location bet and really striving to bring check ins and location tagging to the mass market.
Facebook Places and Check ins are not dead. You will continue to be able to use Facebook and other third party mobile apps to Check in to Places for the foreseeable future.
Facebook have cleverly expanded their location services to enable linking to locations/Places within social messages and photos through a simple tagging process, just like tagging a friend in a message or photo.
Messages that reference locations or Places (cities, countries, shops, cinemas) happen all the time in users’ social conversations. Adding a layer of location context to messages enriches them by making it easy for those reading the message to click on the location/Place to find out more. This Facebook enhancement means that users don’t have to be at a physical location and Check in on their mobile phone to socialise that Place with their friends. They now have the choice of tagging locations/Places in messages/photos on their mobile phone or PC before or after they visit or even if they never visit.
Facebook Places and Check ins are not going away .
In Betapond we continue to develop location and Check in marketing apps based on Facebook Places. We firmly believe that a Check in is the most compelling brand recommendation that a consumer can share with their friends. Check out the Love UK Top 50 Places iPhone app we recently developed for Visit Britain. The app ranks the top UK tourist destinations based on popularity as determined by Facebook Check ins and displays where’s hot nearby based on Check ins in the last hour.