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March 9, 2010

Report: Facebook to add location features

Posted: 04:27 PM ET

Beginning next month, Facebook may start telling its users not only what their friends are doing, but also where they're doing it.

The New York Times' Bits Blog says the popular online social network will announce this "location-based" feature at its upcoming conference, called f8. The conference takes place April 21-22 in San Francisco.

Site users, according to the post, will be able to add their locations to status updates on Facebook.

Similar location services are an emerging trend with online social networks. Some Web sites, like foursquare and Gowalla, are dedicated largely to telling your online friends where you are at any given moment. This is seen by some as a helpful way for friends to find each other and meet up in real life. It's also regarded as an advertising opportunity for businesses that can convince customers to post about their store visits on the Internet.

Other Web sites, potentially including Facebook, are starting to incorporate information about where people are into their existing set-up.

The Times' blog cites interviews with "several people briefed on the project," but the news of Facebook's location-based service has not been confirmed. A Facebook spokeswoman, Meredith Chin, told writer Nick Bilton: “We’re constantly experimenting with new things around here, but we don’t have any details to share right now."

On the tech blog Mashable, Adam Ostrow writes that location services are becoming an important part of the Internet at large:

With Facebook entering the space though, the other players will need to look to create value in ways beyond check-ins and knowing where your friends are located at any given point in time. That’s why Foursquare seems to be so focused on partnerships and gaming, while Gowalla is making moves (as recently as last night) in virtual goods.

In any event, location remains the huge trend so far in 2010, and literally each day seems to bring new indications of which way it will all play out.

The LA Times technology blog says the Facebook news doesn't come as much of shock:

Not much of a surprise that Facebook is pushing into this space. It has more than 100 million mobile users. It hinted it would start a location service when it updated its privacy policy.

What kind of location service is open to interpretation. A big draw: geographically targeted advertising.

Assuming this report is true, do you like the idea of location-based features on Facebook?

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Filed under: Facebook • location

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