It’s been interesting to see the progression of Facebook’s strategy over the past few years.
First, they began emulating Twitter with statuses and redesigned feeds, now location-based services are being integrated with the rollout of Facebook Places.
I’m curious as to whether they’re “following trends”, or simply copying everyone else. Facebook started as an easy way to keep in touch with people you know, yet they’re straying more and more from that core competency.
Foursquare and Gowalla serve very small niches, in that everyone I add or accept is there solely for the purpose of sharing location. However, when you bring the massive amounts of Facebook friends into the loop, you run into an issue of not only privacy, but also relevance.
I check in quite frequently, so my (currently nonexistent) use of Places would quickly become annoying to friends, somewhat akin to linking all Twitter posts to Facebook. Plus, I’d rather check in on Foursquare, where I can earn points, mayorships, badges, specials, and other cool schwag.
It’s also strange that the outrage surrounding this launch isn’t near as bad as the blowup a few months ago. I’d think the average user with the notion of “Facebook knows my location” would raise a lot more red flags than a few tweaks here and there. Just goes to show how much of an impact bloggers have on public perception.
The big picture
Places is taking location to the mainstream. We’re seeing the same trends repeat themselves as with the shark-jumping of Twitter. Depending on opinion, this could be seen as good or bad, but, from a somewhat selfish perspective, I think it’s more of the latter.
I remember when none of my non-tech friends were on Twitter, and to be honest, I kinda liked it that way. Twitter was my happy place. Now it’s location apps.
Do you use Facebook Places? Is the mainstream push of location good or bad?