Facebook revamps location-sharing feature in Places

Facebook will now let users share their location from a PC

Facebook isn't just rolling out new sharing features similar to Googe+, the company is altering its location-based check-in service, Places.

Facebook is still going to let you check in from your mobile phone, but checking in will be just one way to share your location on Facebook. The new location changes will also let you share your location from your PC and you can add location data to your status updates, photos and wall posts.

The idea is to add context to your location sharing instead of mindlessly checking in to your favorite coffee place for the twelfth time this week. "Now when you click 'Check In,' you will be directed to your status and have an opportunity to add social context to your check-in – things like who you're with, where you are and what you are doing," a Facebook official told PCWorld.

That idea is very different from the Foursquare model where you check in to let your friends know where you are, gain local deals and win Foursquare mayorships and badges. Instead, Facebook is using the location model that other social networks such as Twitter have adopted, where you add location data to your regular posts instead of sharing your location just for the sake of sharing your location.

Check-in deals live

Places may be going away, but Facebook says it will still allow businesses to offer check-in deals where users get the chance to use virtual coupons whenever they check in to a location on Facebook. The only difference is that Facebook will only offer you deals for your actual location instead of all the various check-in deals that might be within walking distance. Say you check in to The Barrel restaurant in New York City. You won't also see check-in deals for Professor Thom's, another restaurant, just a few blocks away. Check-in deals can only be claimed after checking in on your mobile phone; you won't be offered any deals by using your laptop to add your location to a status update or other post, a Facebook official said.

It's not clear whether Facebook gave up on Places because it wasn't seeing a whole lot of user interaction without the gaming elements that services such as Foursquare and Gowalla have. Or if Facebook just wants to evolve its concept of what location sharing should be. Foursquare recently closed a round of funding that puts the company's valuation at $600 million, according to TechCrunch.

Facebook's new sharing and location features started rolling out to users Tuesday so if you don't see the changes yet, you should in the coming days.

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Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
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