Facebook Places and Beyond

Are you in Facebook? If you are not included among the 500 million members yet, you might be missing out on a lot of social happenings in the net, with your friends, and in real time.

On Wednesday, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, announced the latest features that would definitely flock in more users: the Facebook Places. This new feature, as described by Zuckerberg in Fortune, will allow you to check in to various places and "share it with people in a nice and social way; show who is around you; and it also helps you to see what is going on and helps you discover new places and things to do ".

Facebook Places also is equipped with maps and your usual Facebook features, comments and the thumb-up sign "like". This new feature will let you see if you and your "network" friends are in the same area, so you could get together. Facebook Places will be available the day after the press conference through the United States. If you are accessing Facebook using your laptops or desks, you will see the new "Places" as an additional tab. This application went live on Wednesday night for iPhone users, right after the announcement was made.

Support for Android and Smartphones are currently in the works. But they need not fret as they can still access Facebook Places by going to touch.facebook.com on their browsers. This new application, compared to users posting in their status messages things like "@Starbucks in downtown Phoenix with Pam", will be a home for all the geographic information that Facebook users will be generating. As one of the officials in Facebook shared with Wall Street Journal, they are just building a new way for people to share information in an engaging way.

This new application will definitely give the competition – location guys like Foursquare and Gowalla – a run for their money. These two services are already at the forefront as they can already link up with Facebook and tap its huge member base.

The flipside of Places though, is that there are concerns with regards to its privacy features. Currently, they have patterned it after the usual privacy settings of Facebook, where you can choose to share it with your friends only or just specific network friends.

Facebook is amassing the most traffic in internet clicks as more and more people are signing-in and letting the whole world know what they are doing, and now, even where they are.