Last night, Facebook announced the launch of Facebook Places at their headquarters in Palo Alto, California. Facebook Places is a location-based check-in service that allows users to share where they are, find out where their friends are and discover places in their area. Users can also tag friends when they check in, something that other services do not currently offer. The service allows businesses to create or claim Places on Facebook and encourage users to check in. Eventually this could lead to the ability to offer discounts or promotional messages to users at a location or nearby.
Location based check-in services have been growing in popularity and it’s been hard to ignore the rumors and hype surrounding the launch of Facebook’s own product. The big question has been: will a Facebook check-in service destroy competitor applications?
During the announcement, Zuckerburg joked about all the features Facebook would not be integrating into the new platform. However in a dazzling display of netizenship, Facebook decided to play nice with Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp and Booya (the makers of MyTown). While Facebook will continue to port over all your social good from the most popular location-based services, the impact on these competitors remains to be seen. According to the most recent Mashable poll, only 30% of people say they will use the service (but another 30% responded “Maybe: I’m going to wait and see”), suggesting adoption may start off slow.
Much like Social Graph, Places promises to unify even more data from across the web. It is only a matter of time before Facebook launches other services such as: peer to peer payment systems, similar to Paypal, group deal sites, similar to Groupon, and online classifieds, similar to Craigslist.
According to comScore, as of July Facebook is the third largest video site in the U.S. Last March the Private Data Equity Center valued Facebook at $35 Billion. InsideFacebook.com states they are projected to hit $1.1 Billion in ad sales revenue after hitting 700 million in 2009. With these numbers, we’re not to far away from saying, “Hey I’ll just Facebook you the money,” or “Just sell it on Facebook.”
Are you going to use Facebook Places? What’s next for Facebook? We want to hear from you!