We discussed the idea of location-based applications previously on this site (Mapping Congress), but Facebook took the concept to whole another level with the introduction of Facebook Places last week. Instantly, millions of users are thrown into the location-based applications stratosphere.
While not wasting time rehashing what we previously wrote regarding the potential of location-based applications, the fact that Facebook has joined the party instantly increases its importance. Facebook Places can have an instant impact on campaigns as they drive supporters to events and voters to the polls in November.
Currently, Facebook Places is only available through Facebook’s iPhone app. It will expand to include Android and Blackberry users in the near future. So while the service may not affect all of Facebook’s more than 500 million users, it still has a significant, and vastly growing, segment of the community.
Facebook’s announcement also proves location-based applications are here to stay, at least in the near term. The collaboration between Facebook, Foursquare, and Gowalla gives the location-based market some much needed direction, and these three companies should capture a significant market share through the coming months.