The mood might be a little glum at the Foursquare and Gowalla offices today. Facebook is said to be readying new
location sharing features
for the popular social networking site. The launch is expected in late April. The user agreement on Facebook was updated in November to include language about the privacy of user location updates. The company also indicated that any location sharing features they might roll out (wink, wink) would be an opt-in service.
Early indications are that the location tools will come in two flavors. First, there will be an integrated ability to share your location via status updates. Secondly, Facebook will create and API for app developers to use to add location awareness to their apps. Advertisers would place high value on locations data for even a fraction of Facebook’s 400 million users.
The usefulness and possible consequences of this feature are still unknown. We hope Facebook will tread softly, having learned their lesson from past mistakes (coughBEACONcough). Though, what about app developers? We all know some apps can be on the shady side. Are you comfortable sharing your exact location with developers?