Just yesterday we teased you about it and today it’s official and it’s powered by Bing Maps. This is a direct Foursquare competitor. Here’s what Bing has to say about it:
After listening to the rumor mills roar and authoring hundreds of emails with my friends at Facebook it can finally be said that Facebook has launched their location-based check-in service dubbed Facebook Places. And, while location-based services like this are certainly interesting to me I’m writing this for you because Facebook is using Bing Maps to pinpoint everyone’s location-based experiences on Facebook.com. When using Facebook Places from your mobile device, users will have the opportunity to check-in to a specific place such as a restaurant, hotel or other place of interest. No, you don’t need a reservation since this isn’t that kind of check-in. This is basically an update you provide your friends where you are. If you use Facebook today, you update your friends on how you’re feeling, what you’re doing or why you’re having a horrible day (usually related to love, right?). Well, now you can provide location context as to where you are when you are experiencing these things, as well. And, hey, these are your friends! If you’re somewhere special, they’ll know why you feel the way you do.
So, fire up the Facebook for iPhone application or touch.facebook.com site on your mobile device. Select the Places button, find the location where you are and check-in. Just like that, the check-in will flow to your profile on Facebook.com complete with a Bing Map, a pin of your location and any commentary you’ve added to your check-in. Places also includes the ability to see where your friends have checked in, a link to get directions to a place (via Bing Maps) and a Like button for the respective place page. The place information bubbles up to the actual Places page which has a larger map experience, plus an update for you to see all of your friends who’ve visited that location. This means you can see where your friends are checking and discover new places.
500 million users overnight have the ability to check-in to locations providing a wealth of information to you and your friends about businesses, common places to visit and who of your friends is going to the most random locations. Smart move, Facebook peeps. Smart move.
The official Bing blog has more information on it here or you can see Facebook’s release here. We now that Microsoft has been getting all cozy with Facebook lately, but this is certainly a win for them. You should check Facebook’s blog page though cause they show an image of a map with Google prominently displayed.