Facebook kills Places, but emphasizes location sharing more

Facebook has decided to kill Facebook Places. The company is simultaneously adding new location features to its service.
Written by Emil Protalinski, Contributor

Facebook announced Facebook Places back in August 2010, allowing you to check in using a smartphone and let your Facebook friends where you are. Today, buried in its major privacy revamp announcement, the company noted that it is killing Facebook Places. At the same time, Facebook is adding a lot more location features.

What does this mean exactly? Although Facebook says it is phasing out the mobile-only Facebook Places, it is now letting you add your current location to anything (status update, photo, or Wall post), from anywhere (regardless of what device you are using).

You no longer need a smartphone to share your location (those clunky computers can be used as well!). Furthermore, adding your location to your Facebook content is not limited to the present; the company wants you to share your location as part of your past and future as well. Here's how Facebook breaks this down:

  • Where you've been. Remember where you were in your favorite photos.
  • Where you are now. If friends are nearby, they might just meet you there.
  • Where you're going. Friends who have been there can give you tips or even join in the plan.

The new location button in the sharing tool is a tricky one because Facebook is trying to get you to use it as much as possible while still abiding by privacy rules. As a result, it's off by default, so you have to make a point to turn it on. If you do turn it on, it will keep adding your general location (like the city you live in) to all of your posts. As a result, you'll have to remember to click the x to remove your location before you share every new post. Otherwise, you'll have to turn the feature off.

Of course, if you want to share a more specific location, you can add actual places (restaurant, park, airport, and so on) to your posts. On the other hand, remember that you can choose who sees each post you share, including the ones with your location.

Wait a minute, but what does this mean for Check-in Deals? Don't worry; they aren't going away anytime soon.

"Once someone tags where they are on Facebook, they will be directed to the News Feed," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "If the Place is offering a Check-in Deal, the title of the deal will appear below the News Feed story. You'll then be able to click on the deal title and will then be taken to the claim flow."

In short, while Facebook Places is going the way of the dodo, Facebook is clearly trying to get users more and more accustomed to sharing their location on the social network. This can be very helpful in many situations when you want to know where your friends are, but of course privacy advocates are going to scrutinize it very closely.

As with the rest of the privacy update, these location changes will start to roll out this Thursday. Keep your eyes peeled as it's going to be a gradual roll out, like every Facebook update.

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