Since this time last year, geo-location has been touted by those in the know as the next big thing in social media. But while Foursquare says it receives one million check-ins per day and has 2.7 million registered users worldwide, neither it or major rival Gowalla has broken through to the mainstream. The (partial) launch of Facebook Places last week aims to change that. But will it?
From a marketing perspective, Gini Dietrich advises being “cautiously curious” due to concerns over personal privacy, but also says that “the pros definitely outweigh the cons for business. Facebook Places is a marketer’s dream.” She also cites a great personal example of the benefits of Places to businesses. Oil Newton addresses on UTalk Marketing businesses’ traditional concerns about how they actually make money from geo-location and argues that Places could eventually follow the example of Shopkick, a new mobile check-in service that gives you credits for every check-in that can be redeemed for real world goods and money off coupons.
On a personal front, Colin Delaney says: “Places as it stands is relatively rudimentary, with none of the competitive features that have turned Foursquare into a game for millions of users. It’s Foursquare without the fun”, and Tracey Udas explains on Social Media Today how Places is creating a timeline of the ‘Third Place’, the places we visit that aren’t home or work but everywhere else. She says that “there is going to be a timeline of people who have come to your location for years to come; a timeline filled with comments, tips, photos, and memories”.
Not everyone, me included I have to admit, is yet sold on the value of geo-location. I’ve been on and around Foursquare for months but find the experience ultimately lame as I live in an Oxfordshire village and have a one year old daughter, so my check-ins are extremely limited. More to the point, my Foursquare friends live nowhere near me, which makes the whole thing rather vacuous. Will Places change that and add value to my life? I doubt it.
It appears even the early adopters are divided over Facebook Places and location-based services in general. What do you think?
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