Facebook has been working on a location based service for quite some time now. Yesterday they revealed the new Facebook service Places at their mystery press event.
Facebook Places is an location aware service similar to Foursquare. It basically allows users to check in from locations, and more. Places helps you "share were you are", "see who is around your" and "see what is going on" said CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the press event.
The rollout of the new service began today on the iPhone and the Facebook Touch website for users from the United States. Facebook users from foreign countries may see messages related to Places from their friends living in the US though, but they cannot use the service yet. Some people from the US are currently seeing a message that Paces is not available in their area yet. According to Facebook it may take a day or two before it is available to every user.
Places displays a list of friends once it has been started, including nearby friends. If the user checks in, a list of places nearby appears with the option to add new places that are not listed yet.
Each place offers a recent activity listing, and checked in users see friends and other people who have checked into the same place.
Facebook seems to have put a lot of thought into the privacy of the feature, obviously fueled by the privacy problems of the past year.
The default settings are configured to be visible to friends only, with the possibility to reduce the visibility further by restricting it to selected people only.
Tagging is available, but restricted so that it only becomes possible to tag people if checked in as well (if you want to check in a friend at a sleazy bar you have to check yourself in there). Users can opt out of tagging completely.
Privacy settings seem to be spot on this time, including options to turn of unwanted features.
Additional information available at the official Facebook blog.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.