Facebook moves into geolocation with 'Places' application

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Next step towards "World Where Web".

Facebook has moved into geolocation services with a new application named ‘Facebook Places'.

Tapping into the rising popularity of the technology that has already been adopted by Foursquare, Places will initially only be available in the US through Facebook's iPhone app or by logging onto its smartphone site.

Michael Sharon, Facebook product manager for Places, said that the benefits are to share places users like or "discover moments when you and your friends are at the same place at the same time".

He said: “You have the option to share your location by ‘checking in' to that place and letting friends know where you are. You can easily see if any of your friends have also chosen to check in nearby.

“When you check in, you can also tag friends who are with you, just as you can tag a friend in a status update or photo. You can post an update along with your check-in to tell people more about what you are doing.”

He explained that the user remains in control of what they share and the people they share with. They can also choose whether or not to share their location and can only tag friends if their settings allow it and they are always notified when they are tagged.

Speaking at the launch of Facebook Places, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, said: “This is going to be a fun and interesting summer. There's a lot of product launches coming up this summer - they release them when they are ready rather than on a schedule. Today we are talking about our new Places product that we've been working on for a few months. We've been testing it for a few months.”

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, recently told SC Magazine that he thought that geolocation would be the next major development in social networking, calling it the ‘world where web'.

He said: “This is one of the growth areas and it is beginning to gain momentum. We have seen documented cases of people who posted statuses of where they were and then got robbed, while there are cases of physical violence.”

Tony Dyhouse, cyber security director of the UK Digital Systems Knowledge Transfer Network, said: “Location-based services have done a lot to improve our lives but people need to treat applications like Facebook Places with care. It's important to realise what criminals can glean from where you are not.

“The criminal fraternity can quite easily build up a profile that includes your address, if they then have confirmation you are not at home, it can be dangerous. My main concern here is that the default setting for the location application will be ‘on' – people need to be aware of the potential privacy risks associated with this.”

See original article on scmagazineus.com

Copyright © SC Magazine, US edition

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