Facebook Places plays nice with Yelp, Foursquare, Gowalla and Booyah

fb places iphone screenFacebook just launched Places for the United States. In short, it is a location check-in platform. They launched with four partners (Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp and Booyah) all of whom are federating check-ins in some way. The Places API is currently read-only, while the Write & Search API are in closed beta.

Facebook Places was created with three goals:

  1. Helping people share where they are
  2. Seeing who else is around you
  3. Seeing what’s going on around you

The launch will be available via a new iPhone app and the Facebook mobile site (requires a browser with HTML5 and geolocation). From these apps you can check yourself into a location, create a new place ,and check-in friends. Every Place has a “People Here Now” section where you can see who else is at a location during a particular time window.

Developer documentation is already live at developers.facebook.com.

Facebook took great pains to not be the big bad during the launch of Places. They had the following launch partners on the stage:

  • Gowalla — When you check-in you get a Passport stamp (as normal). Can post your Check-In to Facebook.
  • Foursquare — You can check-in to Facebook via Foursquare.
  • Yelp — Check-in federation; soon can read check-ins. Will be able to see where Yelp and Facebook friends are via Monocle.
  • Booyah (creators of MyTown) — Booyah is going to launch a new iPhone app, InCrowd, in the coming weeks that will be a mix of game and social utility based around Facebook Places.

hiroprot tweet

Martin May, a founder of location check-in service Brightkite, summed it up with a tweet: “So far, FB Places is pretty much ‘been there, done that’ … of course at FB size.”

The key feature of Facebook Places is the number of users that are suddenly impacted. Tens of millions of people across the US will now be able to share their location with their friends for the first time ever (of course they could have always joined one of the existing services, but they didn’t). Facebook Places in many ways just validated the location check-in space while at the same time they owned it. As Dennis Crowley, the Foursquare founder, has said (and many others): check-in data is a commodity. The value will come in the reviews, ratings and other data that they are able to glean from their users’ behaviors.

What I need to think more about is what do Twitter and Google do now? Each have made their own location plays. Will they get Write access to the Places API? Do they need it?


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  • Vishal

    There is something similar already on FB…


  • Anthony

    generally i think this is really good! as long as everyone is careful with the privacy settings i think. have a look here –> the facebook stalker lol: http://thedailycable.com/?p=428

  • Dave

    Interesting move by Facebook. And seems like it may be an actually helpful/fun app. Although, the security feature about minors not being able to see anyone except their friends won’t do any good for safety, as long as adults can see minors, even if they’re not their friends. I hope the Facebook crew took care of this, but who knows…given their security track record.

    Athlean X

  • Den
  • Jeff Ramos

    What I’m really interested in is seeing how Facebook Places COULD be implemented into social games and alternate reality games. I discuss two ways that could be done here:


    If you’re interested in reading it, you should check it out now.

  • jennifer

    Following the screenshot I see that they want to get the location while you browse on Facebook.com! How do they get the location? by IP? Or weird browser plugin? Or does an optionally installed Facebook Iphone app start if you click Yes?

    I am not in the States so I can not see their new feature in my account. Thanks for helping me guys!

  • I wish that facebook places would come out in Australia. The only way to use it now is to use the iPhone app (or desktop) and use a proxy, or VPN connection that is based in the US. Other than that it just doesn’t work at all. It is pretty frustrating, just release it!

  • Laila

    I was out googling, and there was some information on Yelp returned. When I tried to leave Yelp, it told me that my facebook friends David & Greg were already members and asked if I’d like to sign up. I feel like my privacy was invaded! It didn’t ask if I wanted to share my facebook information … it just took it!

  • Google will take over face book anyway.