Reports of Facebook launching location features have been circulating for quite some time. Such features were widely expected to be launched at the company's F8 developer conference last month, but while Facebook did make some pretty big announcements, location features were not among them.
Last week, AdAge reported that such features will come as early as this month, with McDonald's already building a campaign around them. Now actual code has been spotted in Facebook's mobile touchscreen version at touch.facebook.com that reveals a coming Places tab to accommodate location features. It's not enabled yet, but MG Siegler has confirmed with the company that it is an upcoming "product" that will "launch" at some point. He explains:
Based on the code, this is what it seems that Facebook is about to launch: A mobile version of the site using the HTML5 location component to grab your location information from your phone. Once it does that, you’re taken to this new Places area of Facebook that presumably will have a list of venues around you. From here you can click a button to check-in. Yes, there will be check-ins.
But it’s slightly more interesting than that as well. Facebook will record not only your latitude and longitude, but also your altitude, heading, and speed, according to this code (and assuming they can get all of that information). It will also record the accuracy of the location measurement. I’m just speculating here, but perhaps that will help curb cheating that has begun to run rampant on other location services like Foursquare.
He also says Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been meeting with Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley, which could mean any number of things.
One thing's for certain: location is playing an increasingly important role in the access of information, and is playing more of a role in search. This will only increase moving forward, especially once Facebook is involved.
If you have any doubt about how popular location sharing is becoming, Foursquare just surpassed 40 million check-ins. Now think about Facebook's over 400 million users.