The privacy changes introduced yesterday by Facebook include the news that the social network will no longer offer Facebook Places as a standalone mobile feature. Instead the company will be integrating location more deeply into Facebook, with the ability to share your place in the world from any type of post on any type of device.
Business Insider views the news as Foursquare winning Round 1 in the check-in fight. But to me, it raises bigger questions about the future of these check-in services in general.
For all the gee-whiz promise — Get a coupon on your phone when you drive by the store! Find a friend around the corner! — geolocation still seems like a platform in need of a killer application.
Then again, I’ve never been a big check-in guy. I think I have a Foursquare account, but I can’t remember. I tried Facebook Places a couple times after the launch, just to experience the novelty, but the concept didn’t do it for me. In fact, it kinda creeped me out a bit, and it wasn’t worth the time.
I now there are still plenty of check-in fans out there. Earlier this year, comScore reported that 7.1 percent of mobile users and 17.6 percent of smartphone users were checking in. After talking with the one of the organizers of Foursquare Day in Seattle earlier this year, I grasp the theoretical appeal. And plenty of startups are rolling out location-based apps that offer new takes on the concept.
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