This week Facebook announced the launch of a new feature – Facebook Places. Much like the mobile application Foursquare, Facebook Places will let you “check in” to your current location via Facebook on your smart phone. It will display your location updates to all of your Facebook friends.
You may find yourself asking – doesn’t this same application already exist with Foursquare, Gowalla and others? Why yes, yes it does. However, the Facebook Places application is also going to allow your friends to check you in to places, whether you like it or not.
Of course you can alter your Facebook privacy settings to disable the ability for other users to check you in, but the Facebook default settings will indeed allow your friends to check you in.
Facebook Places does allow businesses to “claim” their venue and provide updates to users who check in via the application (exactly like Foursquare).
While it may seem Facebook is simply duplicating an application that already exists by another provider, what the real concern is here is how Facebook is increasingly making moves to become a one-stop-shop for online and mobile activities.
For example, more people upload photos to Facebook than competing photos services like Kodak Gallery, Snapfish or Shutterfly. Facebook also has the Marketplace application which aims to compete with Craigslist. Businesses now consider their Facebook fan page as vital, if not more, than their company website. The addition of Facebook Places is another intentional move to gobble up competing online players.
Can Facebook extinguish enough competitors to ultimately become the singular destination for online and mobile sharing? What do you think?