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Facebook Releases New Places Application to Rival Foursquare and Gowalla

Facebook Releases New Places Application to Rival Foursquare and Gowalla

Places is the new application from Facebook that allows users to share their current location by "checking in", much like Gowalla and Foursquare. And like other things that can be shared on Facebook, Places allows you to comment on the location. This could include a review, a description, or what is taking place, be it an event or random gathering. Also included is the ability to tag friends that are with you.

The Places application is available to users in the United States with mobile access to the Facebook application for iPhone or It can be accessed by selecting Places on the home page of the Facebook application for iPhone or by navigating to on other smart phones and clicking on the Places tab. Many locations have already been added to the Places application, but Facebook does allow you to create a new place through your smart phone.

When you navigate to a specific place's page you will see a map of the location, a list of friends who are currently checked in (if any), and a list of your friends who have visited that place in the past. You can also select to have push notifications sent to you when your friends check in using Places.

One advantage Facebook Places has over services like Gowalla and Foursquare -- with Gowalla and Foursquare it's not always clear who is checking in depending on what their handle is. With Places it will be linked directly to Facebook and your Facebook friends so there will no longer be any confusion. Also, very soon, Facebook will allow users to quickly tag places that they find to save for later. If you would prefer that friends cannot tag you in a place, Facebook allows you to change this setting.

What you might assume would be a battle between Facebook and applications like Gowalla and Foursquare is actually quite the opposite, It turns out that Facebook is wisely partnering with Gowalla and Foursquare, as well as Yelp and Booyah. These companies will soon begin utilizing Facebook's Places API to better incorporate Facebook into their services and even create new applications.

Currently Facebook has made the Places Read API available to developers via their Graph API, so that developers can integrate location features into their own mobile applications, websites, and applications on Facebook.