Facebook Places, the Competition (Including Google) & Your Business

A great deal of attention has been put on what Facebook Places means for the future of other check-in apps. This discussion has been around as long as the rumors of Facebook launching a location feature, which have been swirling for quite some time.

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A lot has also been made of the increasing competition between Facebook and Google, Facebook Places adds a whole other dimension to this battle.

Google Places and Facebook Places

Greg Sterling at Search Engine Land compares Facebook Places to the similarly titled Google Places (a comparison that will draw a lot of attention going forward as the competition between Google and Facebook continues to heat up). As Sterling notes, businesses can claim their pages on both and use them for promotion. He writes:

"Facebook’s Chris Cox told me that the company has created Places pages for local businesses (hundreds, thousands?). Eventually Fan Pages and Facebook Places will merge in a majority of cases. And, as mentioned, Facebook Places pages will live on the Web as well in mobile, though the locus (so to speak) of activity is bound to be mobile.

Facebook Places will replace Facebook Fan Pages for local businesses once a business has claimed its Facebook Place page. All of these pages and the product itself relies on the Localeze database, which is also at the core of the much-less-developed Twitter Places.

Businesses should win regardless, as now they have more massive places to market their businesses online and via mobile that will potentially reach a lot of people.

Bing Maps and Facebook Places

The graphic Facebook showed in its blog post announcing Facebook Places showed Google Mps, but Bing Maps has a great presence throughout the feature. Facebook uses Bing Maps to pinpoint everyone’s location-based experiences.

"Select the Places button, find the location where you are and check-in," says Chris Pendleton of Bing. "Just like that, the check-in will flow to your profile on Facebook.com complete with a Bing Map, a pin of your location and any commentary you’ve added to your check-in."

Facebook Places and Bing Maps

Bing gets to pick up its nice bit of branding here, which could help it in its own competition with Google

Effects for Fousquare (and other check-in apps)?

Foursquare has pretty much dominated the check-in app space up to this point, but half a billion users is going to be hard to compete with. Here’s what CEO Dennis Crowley told Silicon Alley Insider:

We already allow users to publish their 4SQ checkins into the Facebook News Feed and we’ll eventually going to allow users to push them into the Facebook Checkin Feed.  Facebook Pages Logo - a 4 in a squareI’d imagine we’ll prob pull FB checkins into 4SQ too.   We’re in the middle of a redesign and some new feature launches, so we’re going to get thru those before getting started on FB integration.

Foursquare (and other apps in this space) still might be in trouble. The phrase "check-in fatigue" has already been thrown around a lot. Whether or not people will continue to use other services in addition to checking in with Facebook (assuming that they do use Facebook’s feature) remains to be seen.

It does seem interesting that there is a 4 inside of a square in Facebook Places’ logo (above right), as Alexia Tsotsis points out.

When asked about a potential Android release for Facebook Places, a Facebook representative would only say, "At this time, the Places application is available to people in the United States with mobile access to the Facebook application for iPhone or touch.facebook.com. Places is also available on browsers with HTML5 Geolocation, which is supported on devices like the iPhone, iPod Touch, Android devices and the Blackberry Torch. Places will be rolled out more broadly and to other mobile devices and the web in the future."

For more on how Facebook Places stands to benefit your business, read here.

Do you like the idea of Facebook Places or do you think it’s a waste of time? 
Share your thoughts.

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