Facebook Places launched today with the cooperation of existing location based check-in services Foursquare, Booyah and another one I can’t remember the name of. The only reason they are cooperating is that if they don’t they will fail, because nobody can compete with Facebook’s 500 million active users. Gowallah or something, perhaps that’s the other one.
Location Check In WTF
I tried Foursquare a few weeks ago to see what the point is. You check-in to a business and a status type says you are there. I had to submit the place I wanted to check in to because nobody had done before, despite it being the biggest retailer in the UK. I checked in again a few days later and suddenly I was the mayor of it and I get a tacky badge for my profile. Then suddenly somebody else became the mayor of that shop, presumably they also faked the check-ins because there is no real force that makes you actually have to be there in the first place, and to be honest who is checking in while buying milk and bread?
I posed the question on Reddit today what is the point in Checking In. The only answer I got was the same as on Foursquare’s homepage. The mayor of a business gets discounts on services or goods. Which is absolutely bollocks. Who the f*ck does this shit appeal to? I did also get another reply that one upside of Foursquare is that you can rob your friends houses while they are out. I agree.
Much Ado About Nothing
So far today the only buzz I’ve seen about Facebook Places is from the tech blogs and services themselves, and that’s only because Techcrunch, Mashable, The Next Web etc are all competing for readers and so are on a war to see who can create the most bullshit about Facebook Places. They’ve also got nothing else much to talk about until Twitter can sort out what it is it is doing, and Google finish Google Me.
So here is my official opinion. Checking In and the whole Location Publication stuff is all total bollocks, but sadly I don’t see it blowing over until they realise it isn’t profitable. Obviously there will be the iPhone people who will use it solely because they need to find a purpose to their phones, and this is prime market for that type of ‘look at me’ person. I personally just hope that something will come along soon that will reinvigorate the web for the people who made it great.