What the launch of Facebook Places really means…

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Facebook showed us two things last night with the launch of Facebook Places:

1. They are attempting to get as slick as Apple or Google when it comes to new product / service launches

2. Most importantly, they are aiming to make geo-location part of the mainstream (and, I personally think they will)

I don’t want to go on about the Apple-like launch anatomy too much, but its worth taking a peek at some of the key characteristics:

Apples and Faces…

  • Over-extended ‘build up to announcement’ buzz – we all knew what was being announced yesterday so Facebook used a tactic we are seeing more and more of which is to exploit the ‘conjecture’ window, as once something is official, it loses a great deal of momentum
  • Top drawer production – OK, the video explaining Facebook Places is a bit cheesy (view here) but the quality of production is obvious, giving it an incredibly premium feel
Geo-location going mainstream

Again, a lot of opinion will be put forth about Facebook Places over the next few days, but I think the simple take-outs are:
  • A previously disengaged group – Facebook users – will be tempted to try out location-based services (it is too easy for them not to)
  • It will help services like Foursquare hugely – education is often the biggest challenge for new platforms, and now Facebook will provide a free education to potentially 500 million people, who are likely to want to go a step further and try out the native version(s)
  • The ‘Foursquare will die’ predictions will ring loudly for a while – Facebook (and Google) have tried on several occasions to broaden their service offering to varying degrees of success. I wouldn’t automatically assume Facebook will boss this area, in fact, I really think Facebook will struggle (for a while) to be an all encompassing platform…but one day maybe…
Update:
Privacy concerns will be a major talking point too – personally I think this issue will be the one that runs in mainstream media but not the real issue for marketers – people will adjust, they always do

There are hundreds of other talking points but I think we should keep the take-outs from this development as tight as we can.

More people will try geo-location technology, some may actually grow to see the usefulness of it, but let’s not waste to much time pontificating – what will be, will be.
Adam

1 Comment

  • Reply August 19, 2010

    andrew.davison

    Well done Adam, glad to see someone taking a balanced approach to things. We’re far to early to tell what the real impact will be and I’d imagine what 3rd party developers do with the forthcoming API will be what makes the difference.

    Like you say 500 million people now have a familiar platform on which to try our a largely unfamiliar concept.

    I would say in terms of potential for Foursquare and Gowalla to grow this could give them the same boost that mainstream media gave Twitter when they started to adopt tweet steams into their TV broadcasts.

    Andrew Davison – Ziggurat Brands (http://bit.ly/ZiggWebsite9)

    Follow me: http://bit.ly/AndrewTwitterProfileB

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