200 million Facebook users tagged by location on a monthly basis

Gowalla's former CEO discusses the growth of location-based content and the opportunities that new market presents for developers.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

SAN FRANCISCO -- Third-party developers interested in developing Facebook apps with location-based features have more opportunities when they consider past, present and future actions, according to Facebook project manager Josh Williams.

Speaking at the WHERE Conference on Tuesday morning, the former CEO and founder of Gowalla (now owned by Facebook) explained that the world of check-in apps has evolved a lot over the course of the last few years.

"Data density has always been a challenge, especially in the location space where getting meaningful activity around geography is a struggle for young developers," said Williams.

In Facebook's case, the check-in feature has evolved from the now-defunct Facebook Places project to being a tag that a can be added to any kind of content, whether it be a video, event or a status update -- or perhaps something we haven't even seen yet.

Adding that check-in as an API has exploded on the Facebook platform, the world's largest social network just rolled out this tag to third-party developers last month. Williams touted that it enables developers to take advantage of adding location to posts and actions via Open Graph along with improved search for places, among other features.

This is really where it's essential for developers to consider past, present and future actions. With the Open Graph and Facebook Timeline, Williams noted that more Facebook users are tagging content by location -- even if it actually took place before check-in features even became prevalent in social media.

Willams cited two milestones for Facebook in this space. First, approximately 200 million users are tagged by location on a monthly basis on Facebook. Furthermore, Facebook now sees 2 billion monthly actions and pieces of content involving location-tagged posts, videos, and events.

On the horizon, Williams revealed some new tools for developers coming soon from Facebook, such as continued improvement of place data quality, Open Graph place objects, a place editing API, and geo-coding and reverse geo-coding services.


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