Facebook launches “Places” (powered by Bing Maps)

In what would seem to be a major coup, Bing Maps will be the map provider for the newly announced Facebook Places, on Facebook.com.  The location service for Facebook, which will allow you to check in and share your “places” via the Facebook for iPhone app or touch.facebook.com (if your mobile browser supports HTML 5 and geolocation), will include a Bing map of each location logged when it is shown on Facebook.com, according to Chris Pendleton on the Bing Maps blog:


So, fire up the Facebook for iPhone application or touch.facebook.com site on your moblie device. Select the Places button, find the location where you are and check-in. Just like that, the check-in will flow to your profile on Facebook.com complete with a Bing Map, a pin of your location and any commentary you’ve added to your check-in. Places also includes the ability to see where your friends have checked in, a link to get directions to a place (via Bing Maps) and a Like button for the respective place page. The place information bubbles up to the actual Places page which has a larger map experience, plus an update for you to see all of your friends who’ve visited that location. This means you can see where your friends are checking and discover new places

Interesting that, according to this screenshot at least, it appears that Google Maps will be used in the Facebook for iPhone app, but Bing Maps will power the full site:


The new “Places” service, following some very popular location based services like FourSquare and Gowalla, has already stirred up a bit of privacy controversy, prompting the ACLU of Northern California chime in:

Facebook is rolling out “here now,” privacy later.

The “Here Now" feature of Places provides a list of people who have recently checked-in at a given Place. But while Facebook makes it easy to let people know your current location, you have limited ability to control who knows where you are.

• Problem 1: You don’t have full control over who can see you in the “Here Now” list. You can only choose to turn the feature on or off. If it’s on, any Places user who checks in at the same place can see you in the Here Now list.

• Problem 2:  “Here Now” is turned on by default if you have previously selected that “Everyone” can see even a single piece of your  information.

Still, we expect “Places” to become quite popular, and that can’t be anything but good for Bing Maps.