Facebook – Location data through status updates and apps
Last week, news broke that Facebook will be giving users the ability to share location. The move was expected by many, the company stated that they have been experimenting with it for the past year. With privacy such a huge concern, they wanted to wait until it was perfect before releasing it to the mainstream.
Facebook details two aspects of the new feature, one will be the straight forward option for users to share location with their social network. The second is a little more interesting. Facebook is providing APIs to developers so that they can offer their own location based services.
With Facebook’s enormous audience, mobile offering, and successful gaming ecosystem, this could be huge. Location aware apps could be developed for a multitude of use cases and audiences, but coordinates would all be sent back through Facebook HQ, identity and demographic information attached.
When this is activated, every other startup trying to develop a platform for location (SimpleGeo, Twitter, Google, Foursquare, etc.) will need to welcome a monstrous new contender. 50% of the network’s 400 million users log into the site at least once a day, and 100 million from mobile devices.
That being said, people familiar with the project stated that Facebook is “not trying to beat the smaller location-based social networks” but rather stepping up to compete with Google for small-business advertising dollars. We don’t know if this will be a Foursquare-killer, but it is obvious that in 2010 the distinction between the digital and physical worlds will continue to blur.