Facebook has more than 500 million users worldwide and all of these users are able to share more and more information. Currently you can share photos, what books and music you like and – the most “live” function – the status updates. Very soon the status updates won’t be as live because soon you can tell your friends your exact location. Facebook Places is the name of this new function for your smart phone, and by using this you can check in at different venues like restaurants, museums, landmarks – basically everywhere.
Facebook Places is not a new technology. Applications like Brightkite, Gowalla and Foursquare all offers the same check in function. Facebook Places gives you the option to write comments about the venue for your friends to read when they check in at the same place. The other feature Facebook Places offers is that your friends can see where you are – live if you will – and then have the opportunity to start a dialogue and perhaps join you. In essence Facebook Places compliments the Facebook concept: gathering your friends.
The pros for Facebook Places are – apart from the obvious boast-effect one would obtain by checking in at noma or the Guggenheim Museum – it will make your world smaller in the sense that you can hook up with your friends on a daily basis. You can also take a trip down memory lane by reading old comments about the venues you have previously visited.
The cons for Facebook Places are that it will give people a reason to think that Big Brother is watching them. Your girl/boyfriend, your boss and the state can follow you and this could lead to some very awkward and uncomfortable situations.
Pros or cons Facebook Places is a development is definitely of commercial interest for companies. One example is Starbucks offering discount to people checking in at their shops. Even smaller businesses would enjoy the free publicity. Think for a second how big Facebook Places can become when it becomes available worldwide…
In conclusion Facebook Places can best be described as an online rallying point for your friends and with big commercial potential for businesses regardless of size. We at your Weekly Buzz are very excited about this new feature and we can’t wait to try it out.
This week’s first blog post on your Weekly Buzz is a rather critical one. Google is considered by modern standards to be a big company, and over the last couple of years Google has turned in to a conglomerate. Google is regarded quite influential on several markets such as; e-mail, telecommunications, online search and latest Google Buzz – their attempt at a social networking platform. The critical consumer – who perhaps also is afraid of the “Big Brother” phenomenon – might contemplate how Google uses its power. Is Google going to use their size and power to control and monitor my activities? And how will this affect me?
The fact is that Google provides a wide variety of services that we as consumers would hate to be without in our everyday activity on the web. Perhaps one should relax and enjoy the many features provided by Google – but don’t say you weren’t warned.