Why do I want to know where everyone is?
Careful! This post is looking a little old and could be inaccurate in many, many ways
Following in the footsteps of Gowalla and Foursquare it was Facebook’s turn to jump on the geolocation bandwagon today with Facebook Places. It describes the service as somewhere to share where you are and connect with friends nearby.
Personally I think this is Facebook trying to have a presence in yet another arm of social networking. But while they expand into yet another market are they able to compete with those who operate solely in the geolocation game?
Geolocation: What I don’t like
I’ve already been a victim of identity theft this year and although I know I have more personal information online than some I’m just not willing to take that leap into geolocation. We already have the term Facestalk being coined for those that stalk people on Facebook so it’s not such a stretch to think that these services aren’t being used entirely innocently either.
Geolocation: What I do like
Although I don’t use the services I do see the tweets that pop up with people having collected badges or become Mayor of a certain locale. This aspect I do actually think has some merit because it is a very clever vehicle these services have employed to provide longevity to their services and keep people coming back. If it was simply about figuring out where your friends were I think these services would have a very limited lifespan but with this added element of gameplay they have turned this service into more of a game than just simple networking.
But on the face of things it appears Facebook has missed this. Nowhere on their website have I found anything about this and to me if they truly wanted to compete in this marketplace then this is something they would have definitely needed to implement.
Not for me
As much as I like one aspect of these geolocation services I am simply not able to give in to the idea that all the people I know and possible some I don’t know being able to find out where I am at any given time. For me I think I much prefer trying to minimise the amount of personal information I have floating around the Internet so for me geolocation is something I’m going to steer clear of.
Added: Check out this link on how to turn off Facebook Places as it’s actually something that is switched on automatically: http://lifehacker.com/5616395/how-to-disable-facebook-places