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Facebook’s New Location Aware Services

A new application from Facebook called “Places” a location-aware service has been launched. Facebook, the popular social networking site, has launched a new feature, which enables the users to share their location, from which they logged into the site with their friends. This new feature of localization service called “Places” was launched in Britain on 18th Sep 2010. The facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg was talking about this new feature at a Press conference in Palo Alto. This was first launched in USA, a month ago.

This feature allows the users to get the check in data of specific places of theirs’ and their friends too. The amazing power of knowing your friend’s locality at that particular point of time (i.e. when they logged in) can be of real fun. Some business firms can also earn profit by this application as they can have free advertisement on the site. This application is an innovative leap in social networking sites, using GPS function, in localizing a person/ user.

This application in Facebook works like another famous location- based social networking site “Foursquare”. As soon as the user logs into the website, it asks them to click on the “Check in” button. As soon as this is done, a list of probable near-by places is displayed and user can select the most appropriate one. This enables the friends on the list to know where the user is. The near-by business centers and attractions will also be targeted by this. Thus it helps to find out new places near-by.

Michael Sharon, Facebook product managers stated that Facebook is a niche where the information that a user knows, can be shared with people. He also told that the new application “Places” was just formalizing what people are doing anyways. People generally tell people where they are when they are using the site. However this new localization service in Facebook raised many queries regarding the safety and privacy of the user. Facebook has already faced a trouble of breaking the privacy of its users in the past. So this time it made certain tight safety rules for this application “Places”, such that the user’s privacy will not be hammered. Graph APC’s will provide the places data.

Hence Facebook has made this service optional to its users, unlike its other services which are always on. User’s location will not be stored unless he/she cheeks in. They can also be localized when they are tagged or accept a tag. Check-ins can be made available only to friends preferably than to everyone on Face book. However the user of Face book has a choice of not using the application, if they are not interested in it. An associate application with ‘Places’ is “People Here Now”. Through this application the user of Face book can see the other users who logged in from the same place at that time, but this section is visible only for some time and only to the users who checked in from the same place.

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