Facebook Places, from all accounts, is going to be quite a big deal, and Bing Maps is right in the center of it all, running the maps on Facebook.com. We’ve noticed a few of our friends trying out the app, and so while they were checking in, we checked out the experience on Facebook.
(note: we try to be pretty careful about what we post from inside Facebook, hopefully Steve and Dare won’t mind)
Steve Kafka works at Microsoft SVC in Mountain View, CA, and a bit ago he checked in via Facebook for iPhone:
Mousing over the “Microsoft” link gives us a popup, or you can just click on the link:
…and clicking through goes to a new “Places” page for the local business:
Note that these appear to be completely new pages (we’re pretty sure Microsoft would have more than 1 “like”, otherwise) Right now there doesn’t appear to be any link from the Places page to, say, a fan page, nor is there any notation that this is Microsoft Silicon Valley Campus and not Redmond. Seems like there’s lots of work still to do on the Places page, but the maps are nice!
The map on the Places page is an interactive Bing Map, you can move it around, zoom in or out, etc., although it’s only in “Road” view, no Aerial or Bird’s Eye, but there are links to the full map, and also to “Directions”.
All of this is with the newly upgraded Facebook for iPhone experience (which, as we said before, uses Google maps in the iPhone, due to the Apple iPhone API, which is what was used to write the FB app, using Google maps). With another check-in service, like FourSquare or Gowalla, the experience is different. Dare Obasanjo tried out the app and checked in to the Pro Sports Club:
Notice that you still get a Bing Map thumbnail, but when you click through, you go to that service, and not a Facebook page:
…which is a good thing for those services, but it does limit the Bing Maps exposure a bit.
Still, as we said before, this looks to be quite a coup for Bing Maps, with a nice mapping experience inside of Facebook, and lots of new exposure for our favorite Maps product!