Last week Facebook launched it’s newest feature (in the US only at the moment) called “Places”. Clearly a shot across the bow of the growing upstart foursquare which has been gaining steady growth of users and has so far failed to secure a trademark on the notion of “Checking in”.
Facebook Places is an interesting but logical shift as the social network makes it’s first move towards the physical world. It is also the first step which really brings facebook into the mobile space and effectively opens up there application platform to Geo-social, Geo-spatial and location based services. The revamped API now exposes the “social graph” of it’s users to applications and devices that are authorized to use it. The well defined schema provides an interesting infrastructure to design a well integrated mobile experience.
Facebook is reported to have a community of around 500 million users and as such certainly represents a very key social fabric on the web. Given all of this I wonder if will start to see the notion of a facebook themed mobile device that provides the best mobile experience for interacting with that platform. Today facebook has been relegated to being an app which doesn’t make it a totally seamless experience to set status, post pictures and now expose your location on a mobile device. As a service Facebook exposes a really nice set of integrated social interaction tools which support subtly different ways to connect with friends and family.
I am not so sure I would to see an Fphone being developed in the same guise as the Gphone from Google but it might be an interesting as a future feature phone concept. What do others think?