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By 19 August 2010 | Categories: news

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Facebook yesterday announced the launch of a new service called ‘Places’, that will make it easier for users to share their locations with others on the social networking site.

As reported by CNET, this mobile geo-location application will allow users to find friends nearby and mirrors the basic functionality of already existing location-sharing services such as Foursquare and Gowalla.

The need for such an application has grown over the last few years with the emergence of mobile browsing and more than a quarter of Facebook users today access the site using their mobile devices. The logic behind this is that users will be able to check-in to the service while they’re on the move to see if they have any friends nearby.

As such the application is supported by most mobile devices and it has also been updated for use with Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch.

While Facebook’s entry into the market might otherwise spell the end for other such services, the company has partnered with Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp and Booyah to integrate their services with the Places application.

Of course this issue raises a lot of privacy concerns, but Facebook said that they would include comprehensive privacy features with the application. Users that opt in to the service will only have their locations broadcast to friends and they’ll be able to customise their privacy settings to share more or less information if they wish.

At launch Places will not offer any integration with large companies, but it’s sure to be added in the future as it would be a huge driver of revenue. In a few months Nando’s might be able to send you promotional info if they see you’re in the area, which depending on your stance towards this type of advertising, might either be beneficial or upsetting.

The application is only available to users in the United States at the moment, but the functionality is sure to be extended to the wider Facebook audience soon.

What do you think about Places and its live location sharing? Would you have a problem with people knowing where you are all the time? Let us know in the comments below.

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