Location based social media has seen a sharp increase in popularity the past 1.5 years with the availability of the smart phones such as the iPhone and Android. Using the built in GPS chip to locate your position you can “check in” at your favorite locations. Companies like Foursquare and Gowalla have dominated this space in the past (the past being measured in months). Each check in earns the user points and there is a leader board among your friends for some fun competition. Also, businesses have really jumped on bard offering discounts or prizes for check-ins or being the most frequent visitor to their store.
Recently, Facebook threw it’s hat in and I think it sucks. Here’s why:
Thank you Facebook for making it that much harder to hide out from crazy old girlfriends. Facebook’s privacy settings are regularly updated and expose more and more of my profile to strangers all the time
Places is no exception, you and I, are automatically opted into the service at its most open settings. This simply isn’t cool, when I check in not only can my friends see but so can ANYONE near by. You have to navigate Facebook’s convoluted privacy settings to opt yourself out of the service or change this setting.
All fail, no win
It doesn’t benefit the user at all. When I check in on Places I don’t get points, unlock badges or become the mayor. Although once you check in the businesses name is plastered on your wall which is essentially free advertising. It is way too lopsided to the benefit the business not the user.
iPhone only? Boring
No Android love. Its only available for iPhone users in the United States. With Android OS devices flying off the shelves Facebook should have had a launch for both operating systems on launch day. I am an iPhone user but not all my friends are, that is just kinda lame.