It was announced today that Facebook users will begin seeing a new kind of status update in their news feed: the current locations of people on their friends list. Additionally, Twitter users can now tag their location in their tweets, a feature that will even bring up a map to pin-point exact locations.
Meredith Chin, a Facebook spokeswoman, said Tuesday that the company wasn’t ready to discuss any possible location-based features. However, according to sources who claim to know about the project, the new location feature will have two parts to it. One will be a service offered directly by Facebook that will allow users to share their location information with friends. The other will be a set of software tools that outside developers can use to offer their own location-based services to Facebook users in the form of Apps.
On Twitter, there will be a location placemarker next to any tweet tagged with a location. If you hover your mouse over that placemarker, it turns blue. Clicking on it will bring up a tiny Google map that shows the exact location the tweet was sent from. You can see these maps as overlays both on individual tweet pages, and on tweets in your main stream. The service was active on the site earlier today, but looks as though it has been disabled as of the writing of this post. I imagine we’ll see it back very quickly.
Location services and tags seem to be the hot new thing. Every company – and their dog! – is pushing hard to get some type of location-based service added to their application prior to the SXSW conference. However… is this REALLY a good idea?
In the case of a celebrity, is it a good idea to let an over-zealous fan know where you’re having a coffee or manicure? If you’re on vacation, do you really want thieves to know that? What about people who may have a restraining order against a violent person? Letting them know where you are over Twitter may not seem like such a hot idea when they show up there to see you.
I can think of a ton of reasons why it’s a crazy idea to constantly share your location with others. However, I can’t honestly think of any solid reasons why it would be a great idea to do so. Am I missing something? Sure, it may be fun… and it may be the newest trend. But is it actually a smart idea?