I’ve been playing around with FourSquare for the past several months and while it’s a bit of fun, I’ve not personally realised much value from the location-based social network. This is probably because I live in the Isle of Man and we don’t yet have the critical mass of users required to make FourSquare interesting to local businesses.

We do, however have a critical mass of Facebook users here on this little island. That’s why the launch of Facebook Places is exciting!

Places is the new location-based and it’s available via an iPhone application (too bad I’m an Android user!) Michael Eyal Sharon, Places product manager for Facebook, said, “Starting today, you can immediately tell people about that favorite spot with Facebook Places.”

This feature is available only in U.S. as of now, but will be rolled out in the UK before long allowing users to:

  • let Facebook friends know where they are
  • find friend’s location and tag nearby friends
  • discover new places

As with FourSquare, people can use Places to check-in at bars, restaurants other places and share it on their Facebook newfeed. However there’s bound to be some privacy concerns.

There’s a ‘Not Now’ option for people who don’t wish to be tagged. But the ‘Here Now’ option is on by default and shows nearby friends where people are. Along with check-ins, Places also suggests nearby places that may of interest. Check-ins are visible on people’s main Facebook profiles but the check-in feature is available only via mobile phones. And if you don’t want to share your check ins, users can uncheck the application in Facebook settings.