All posts tagged ‘Places’

File Under: APIs, Location, Social

Facebook Opens Up Places in its API

Less than a full day after launching its new location-sharing feature, Facebook has opened up Places to developers.

Thursday afternoon, developers gained access to users’ check-in data via Facebook’s Graph API. Developers can also access check-in data from locations, like restaurants and businesses, to see who’s checked in there.

As we mentioned in our coverage of Wednesday evening’s launch, the Places data is read only for now. Applications can’t write or search Places data through the API. Those features are only available to Facebook’s launch partners for Places — Gowalla, Foursquare, Yelp and Booyah — while the kinks get ironed out. Everyone will get access to write and search Places data within a few months, according to Facebook.

The documentation for the Graph API has been updated to provide instructions for calling Places.

So sayeth the man page: “Every check-in is associated with a check-in ID that represents an object in the graph. Check-ins are associated with locations represented by Facebook Pages; the location must have a Facebook Page ID, whether the Page was created on Facebook directly or using the Open Graph protocol.”

If you don’t want to join in any of Facebook’s check-in reindeer games, the How-To Wiki has instructions on disabling Places in your account.

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File Under: Location, Social

‘Places’ Turns Facebook Into a Location Sharing Powerhouse

Facebook has jumped on the location check-in bandwagon with a new feature known as Places. Facebook Places has launched with four partners, all services that already offer check-in services — Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp and Booyah.

If you use Foursquare, Brightkite or other location check-in services there isn’t much to see in Facebook Places. The only real difference is the scale that Facebook brings to the table.

Places is already available to most in the U.S. in their desktop browsers on Thursday. To use Places on your mobile, you’ll either need to download the new Facebook iPhone app (version 3.2, which is available now), or you can head to the Facebook mobile site with a web browser that supports the Geolocation API (basically anything but IE).

To read full coverage of the Places launch announcement on Wednesday night, read Ryan Singel’s report on Wired’s Epicenter blog.

While Facebook isn’t doing much with location that hasn’t already been done at least half a dozen other services, it does of course bring location sharing to Facebook’s massive user base of 500 million people around the world. Eventually, all of them will get access to Places once it rolls out in other countries. In the past that user base hasn’t been very welcoming of new features, especially features that involve privacy changes. While Places will be activated for all accounts, by default your location won’t be broadcast to everyone — just your friends.

To use the new feature, you can actively check in to a location, or you can let your friends check you in to a location without doing anything. While this may ruffle your feathers, if you don’t want people knowing where you are, it’s pretty simple to disable your friends’ ability to check you in, and to just ignore the check-in button.

According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Places has three goals: helping people share where they are, seeing which of your friends are close by, and seeing what other places of interest are near you.

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