Monday, August 29, 2011

Facebook Places Checks Out

By Pete DeLuca

A little over a year ago, I wrote a blog about Facebook’s latest innovation, “Places” – an online application that allows users to “check in” to various locations to show their online friends where they are. The plan, as President and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, was to take the virtual relationships created through Facebook and bring them into the physical world.

Well, the plan failed. With only 6% of Facebook users actively using the application, the company decided that it was time to pull the plug on Places last week.

Keep in mind, even though only 6% of Facebook’s audience used Places that still represents over 30 million people.

Take that number, as well as the amount of people using Foursquare, Gowalla, and other similar services, and you have an enormous amount of people interested in location-based apps. Removing the technology completely would be foolish; instead the geniuses at Facebook are making “checking in” even easier.

In a blog post on August 23, Facebook described the new process:
“Before: You could only "check in" to locations using the Places feature on a smart phone. Going Forward: Now you can add location to anything. Lots of people use Facebook to talk about where they are, have been or want to go. Now you can add location from anywhere, regardless of what device you are using, or whether it is a status update, photo or Wall post. Of course, you can always choose not to add location at all.”

It’s that simple. Instead of using your Smart Phone and the Places app to “check in”, now you can do it through a status update from anywhere. You can check in to where you were, where you are, or where you are going. When a waiter places down your delicious-looking dinner and you want to upload a picture of it, it comes with a “check in” of the restaurant you’re sitting at. And all you have to do… is the same thing you were doing in the first place. You’ll be “checking in” and you won’t even know it. Genius.

Do not misinterpret Facebook’s elimination of Places. They are not moving away from “checking in”, they are embracing it. It is ideas and innovations like this that make Facebook the most visited site in the world.

Pete DeLuca is Manager of Creative Services at Maroon PR. Contact him at

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