Facebook Places killed off: An Obituary

44-places-thumb.jpgIn a fortnight of dramatic tech-world revelations, Facebook have tried to bury this little story – they’re killing off Facebook places – the location service on mobile which lets you check into where you are.

What happened to LOCATION as the next big thing for social networks? If the biggest social network in the world can’t make it work – who can?

Places was only announced last August, but it’s already bitten the dust.

Though we noticed just a month after launch that take up was slow..

Announced as a clean, game-free, badge-free service that would let people share where they are with their friends, it was predicted that it would kill rival services like Foursquare and start a new era of place-sharing. In future our friends would always know where we were.

Mark Zuckerberg promised it would revolutionize how people meet and his vice president Christopher Cox said would change how humans record history.

But where Foursquare spiced up location-sharing with badges and vouchers, Facebook’s no-frills approach might have been what killed it off in the end. With no incentives to check-in, people just didn’t see the point of it, and tended to check in only once a month or so, when they ended up somewhere fancy they wanted to boast about. I don’t know if it ever has facilitated any impromptu meetings – let me know if it has.

Facebook aren’t giving up on location though – they’re introducing it as an element in other updates you make – letting you location-tag your statuses and photos. Like how you can with Twitter for example. To us though that’s a bit of a cop-out – now location is no more significant than a time-tag. They couldn’t make it work on its own.

Facebook explained the reversal in the bottom of a blog post about updates to the service.

Tag Locations in Posts
Before: You could only “check in” to locations using the Places feature on a smart phone.

Going Forward: Now you can add location to anything. Lots of people use Facebook to talk about where they are, have been or want to go. Now you can add location from anywhere, regardless of what device you are using, or whether it is a status update, photo or Wall post. Of course, you can always choose not to add location at all.

“As a part of this, we are phasing out the mobile-only Places feature. Settings associated with it are also being phased out or removed. (You can read more about how location works and settings affected here: http://www.facebook.com/about/location)

So – location guys – can anyone do it right? Another post coming up…

[via The Register]

Anna Leach