Facebook adds 'Places' check-in feature
Thursday, August 19, 2010; 7:05 AM
Facebook is following in the footsteps of younger social-networking sites by adding a "Places" feature that lets you share your real-world location with online friends.
As company representatives explained at an event at Facebook's Palo Alto, Calif., offices and wrote in a blog post, you'll be able to tap a "Check In" button to announce your presence at a physical location to your Facebook friends. Your check-in will then appear on that location's "place page," on your profile and in your friend's News Feeds.
Your pals, in turn, can tag you as being with them, after which you can remove that tag--similar to the way Facebook's photo-tagging feature operates.
Using this new feature requires using a version of Facebook's iPhone application, due out Wednesday night, or logging into its touch.facebook.com smartphone site on a phone that supports GPS auto-location. On the site, you should see a "Places" tab on its home page--though I had to wait a couple of hours to see it appear on an iPhone and an Android phone.
Facebook's Places lacks the competitive aspects of the check-in features at such smaller sites as Foursquare and Yelp; you don't collect virtual badges or become the "mayor" or "duke" of an establishment by showing up there enough. Your only reward is seeing where your friends are, where you've been, and what earlier updates were posted from that spot.