Thursday, August 19, 2010

Facebook Places = pleaserobme.com

It's been a geeky day, so please forgive me in advance for this mini-rant. But I can't not say something about Facebook's new Places service. Blame my analyst's DNA.


Facebook Places works more or less like Foursquare and Gowalla, and it essentially involves mobile phone-wielding users "checking in" whenever they're out and about. The operative goal is to use online location-based tools as a means of connecting in real life. The revenue-based goal is to allow advertisers to narrowly target folks most likely to bite.

I get the zeitgeist of location based services (LBS) and I completely understand how Facebook needs to find new ways to convert users (500 million and still growing fast) and traffic into hard dollars. But call me cynical: I don't believe a company that's had so much difficulty internalizing the basic concepts of end-user privacy and confidentiality can suddenly be fully trusted to do the right thing as it ups the ante to LBS. We're handing over even more sensitive information than ever, and I just don't feel warm fuzzies over Facebook's ability to keep things fair and balanced for all.

The other basic issue related to LBS - that folks who know I'm taking out a book from the library Right Now will correctly deduce that my house is empty and thus rather vulnerable to burglary - is something we can dig into more thoroughly another day. For now, I'll assume you're not terribly interested in the minutae of my day-to-day, routine travels. So if you bump into me at the grocery, it'll be because of pure happenstance.

Your turn: Do you do Foursquare or any other LBS-type services? What say you?

9 comments:

srp said...

I don't really understand any of it.... even basic Facebook and after reading your post... I am GLAD I don't understand it enough to use it.

Sara said...

I do not use any of those place type things - and it terrifies me that my daughter does...

Think it is a bad, bad idea.

Hell, I don't even post on my blog when I am going away on vacation!

katney said...

I don't even put my specific location in my blogger profile.

Heidi said...

I'm with you on this one - bad idea.

Tabor said...

We are too old to understand the need to 'hook-up'at night. My son rarely makes plans and shows up places hoping to see friends. This is perfect for that. He lives on the 10th floor of an apartment with a desk guard...so chances of robbery are slim. But I agree on all other points.

Jennifer said...

I honestly don't care to know every detail of where all of my friends are at every moment. And my friends would get bored silly reading that I am either at a. church, b. Walmart, or c. the pickup line at my girls' school.

Dianne - Bunny Trails said...

Not a feature I'll be using. I'm also in the camp of "don't tell people when you're not home" on your blog, FB, Twitter, etc. I talk about things after the fact. Although I get that every generation has differing views, but I'm sticking with my own, thankyouverymuch. If I really want to meet a person someplace, I'll work it out ahead of time. Or be pleasantly surprised to have run into said person.

dennisthemennis.co.uk said...

I have a discipline of posting comments delayed rather than real time on facebook and i even schedule stuff to arrive on my blog if and when I am away, but I am not telling you when, you understand.

It even gives me the opportunity to slag people off without them knowing I am talking about them :)

Its frightening really.

kcinnova said...

Your take on this makes me proud of my son that he has not posted his university as a network. At first I was teasing him that he wasn't being true to his school (cue Beach Boys music), but then he told me that he didn't feel a need to announce his college to all of facebook.