Whilst it ought to have stood a chance in the geolocation marketing stakes, Facebook rolled out Places as an afterthought, a feature with no thinking behind it. And now it has gone. In the hullabaloo of yet more privacy changes on Facebook to affect all users, Places has been consigned to the pile of tried and failed apps.
It would be interesting to look at why certain features ‘fit’ in a social network, and why users prefer other features to remain in a dedicated space. For instance, it is unlikely that everyone will start making voice calls within Facebook rather than using already established solutions such as mobile, Skype or the good old landline. Even Ebay has not really resolved that one although it was a logical fit to allow buyers and sellers to communicate via Skype.
Those who use geolocation, for whatever reason, have a preferred tool for the job. Facebook was not it. And never could be without becoming increasingly good at delivering what the dedicated solutions had found to be the big wins – badges, tips, photos, event location, crowdsourced and unique awards, discounts etc.
It will be interesting to note during 2012 how far down the social graph Facebook sinks. Already, it is feeling like it has lost its edge. And for that, you should probably blame Google+. Not that Google+ is going to fill in the space, more the space has moved.
Facebook has suddenly taken on a MySpace tumbleweed type feel, and once sites such as this lose the interest of users, there is rarely a way back up.
Which geolocation tool do you use, and why? Is it to inform friends of your whereabouts? To track down deals? To meet people you share common interests with, or FOAF? (Remember that?!)
Or are you as a marketer far less interested in any time of check ins than you were 12 months ago? In which case, what is piquing your interest right now? Tell us more……