Foursquare, Gowalla and MyTown should be shaking in its boots because Facebook is preparing its own “check-in” service that could make these fledgling services irrelevant, according to code dug up by TechCrunch.
You foodies out there can laugh at McDonald’s all you want but it is utterly and completely mainstream. These types of companies are generally not quick to hop on to the latest online or mobile bandwagon, so it’s also a strong endorsement to the staying power of Facebook and its approach to LBS. Also, I don’t care what anybody says – a Big Mac and fries taste really good once in a while.
LBS on a phone is the holy grail for marketers and service providers because these handsets contain intimate information. This is why Twitter is also making a push toward the check-in game, and also why the government is butting into the mobile advertising market.
What’s in it for you? The discounts and relevant ads are easy examples, but there’s also something powerful about being able to see where your friends are at any given time. Of course, this is also incredibly scary and that’s why it’s up to us to make sure these companies handle the granularity of controls properly. I’ve heard from other LBS providers that it could only take one high-profile location slip-up to torpedo the whole industry, so you can be sure we’ll continue to monitor these companies to make sure LBS is done in a responsible way.