Facebook Places Launches in US

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We’ve spoken about Facebook Places here in the past.

The world’s biggest social network (which recently announced it’s 500,000,000th user) has been working on the geo-location module for months and has launched it this morning in the US.

Currently, Facebook Places exists within the Facebook App for iPhone only (or a mobile browser that supports geolocation and html 5) – although there are plans to release it on Android and Blackberry too.

And if you’re already using foursquare, then the format will look familiar. You check in at places that already exist or add those that don’t, see which friends are at which locations, view maps of locations and even get directions.

As with Foursquare, the first locations to appear are likely to be coffee shops, arcades, restaurants and cinemas. Businesses with a high street presence will certainly see an instant benefit, as people have their heads in their iPhones looking for a specific Costa Coffee or Pizza Express. For more about using social media for business, see our website.

It’s likely that Foursquare will integrate with Facebook Places, as will Gowalla and several others. We think this will happen in the same way that Twitter can publish to a Facebook wall.

Facebook has come under fire for privacy issues this year already and Places will most certainly spark a new debate about how privacy is handled. There have already been incidents of Foursquare stalking and Facebook doesn’t need more flack from its critics.¬†Facebook’s initial response is to lockdown Places until explicit permission is given.

As for the launch in the UK, we’ll just have to wait and see.