Facebook vs. Foursquare

It’s been rumored for months, but it’s finally here: Facebook Places, the social networking giant’s answer to location-based applications like Foursquare. Announced on Wednesday evening, Places is meant to be the next big revolution in Facebook.

I’m admittedly a little skeptical.

I haven’t actually SEEN Facebook Places yet, because neither touch.facebook.com nor the iPhone Facebook application are updated yet. But I did read a few pieces on the official Facebook blog, and I’m curious to see what’s so innovative about the new utility. First, check out this screen print:

A couple of points that caught my skeptical curiosity:

  • Checking In with Friends – Like Foursquare, Loopt, and other similar location-based apps, you can “check in” at a location and see if any of your friends have checked in there recently.
  • Who’s with Me? – In a newish twist, you can “check in” at a location and tag friends in the check-in. You can also look at a specific place where you have checked in, and see who else is currently checked in there also, even if they’re not your friends. (This second piece is pretty standard.)
  • Tagging and Control – In an ongoing theme of “It’s about the privacy, stupid!”, Facebook has programmed in a ton of privacy controls to allow you to choose who sees your check ins, whether or not people are allowed to check you in with them at a location, etc.

Stay tuned for an update once I’ve actually SEEN the new functionality and played with it a bit. But my initial suspicion? Through sheer numbers alone, Facebook Places is bound to put a serious dent in the market share of Foursquare, Loopt, etc. (I still love being the “mayor” and earning “medals” in Foursquare, for the record.)

Have you played with Places yet? If so, reply below with a comment!

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