Facebook has just announced the release of Facebook Places, a new feature that will allow users to share their location with other users via their smartphones.
A lot of questions have been raised over this new feature, so here is a helpful guide that Mashable put together that explains what Facebook Places is and what it will mean for businesses, you, and your privacy.
First of all, in order to use Places you will have to have a smartphone. This feature works best on the iPhone, but if you don’t have one, you can still access Places through Facebook’s Mobile Touch Site as long as your browser supports HTML5 and geolocations. Facebook plans to release versions of Places for Android and Blackberry devices, but no official dates have been released yet.
The first time you click on the Places tab on your iPhone or your Mobile Touch device, you will be asked for permission for Facebook to know your locations. Once you accept, you will be taken to the Places interface. From here, you can share your location with friends, find where your friends are located (provided they are using Places), and discover new areas around you. You have the options to add places, check into existing places, and tag people who are with you.
In order for businesses to show up on Places, they must submit an official document such as a business license or a Better Business Bureau accreditation. Facebook also plans to launch an API so developers can incorporate this feature into their applications. Working with sites such as Yelp, this feature will allow third-party apps to pull information and run queries from Places’ data.
So what happens when Places goes wrong? If Places displays a wrong location, or you feel that it is infringing on your privacy, you can report this incorrect data and it will be flagged for removal. Unfortunately, this removal is not immediate, but you can immediately untag yourself from these locations.
One of the main concerns with Places is user privacy. While this feature is designed to share your location with your friends only, your checkins will automatically show up in your newsfeeds and status updates. Friends can also check you into locations without your permission. Steps to make places more secure are available; however, you just have to know where to find them. By carefully going through the various “Customize Setting” for Places, you will be