In a recent announcement made by Facebook, it was revealed that their “Places” feature would be phased out and replaced with a different feature with the same function. A feature called ‘location tagging’. It was a very surprising announcement, considering that it has only been a few months since the Places feature was implemented.
By all rights, Facebook should have given Foursquare a run for its money. It had a much larger user base and thus could reach more people. With Facebook’s 600 million users compared to Foursquare’s 10 million, it was pretty clear that Foursquare was the underdog. Facebook even added a Deals feature similar to what Foursquare offers, enticing many businesses to sign up. However, when the numbers came in, it turned out that only 6% of the population was actually using the Places feature, much fewer than the site’s initial expectations. Foursquare, on the other hand, was hauling in new users. Just recently, they managed to attract 100,000 users in just 10 days.
But that does not mean that Facebook has given up in trying to get their users to share their location data. On the contrary, they’re going to create a new feature which allows users to share their location even without the use of smart phones. Users can share where they’ve been, where they currently are, and where they’re going. You can add your location to anything you post on Facebook, whether it’s a picture, a status update, or a wall post. For example, if you posted a picture of you hanging out in a certain café in
Consequently, if there’s a ‘Facebook Deal’ attached to that place that you posted, then the title of the deal will appear beneath your post on the newsfeed. Your friends can click on that link and partake of the offer if they so desire.
Security-wise, there’s not much to complain about with this new location sharing feature that hasn’t already been said about Facebook Places. It’s dangerous to keep on sharing your location, that’s for sure, especially if your friends list is composed of random strangers. But the decision to share will still be ultimately up to the user. As per the new ‘opt in’ policy, the feature will be turned off by default. The only gripe security buffs have about it is that if you do turn it on, then Facebook will add your current location (in this case, the city which you list as your location on your profile) to each and every post that you make. You have to remember to turn the feature off by clicking the ‘x’ button to prevent this from happening.