The Conversation: Facebook Places vs. Foursquare

New York Times' Jenna Wortham on Facebook Places vs. Foursquare.

Aug. 20, 2010— -- Wondering what restaurant your best friend is at right now? Trying to avoid an ex-boyfriend who frequents the same local coffee shop as you do? Always looking for a good bookstore when you get to a new town?

Well, Facebook's latest feature, Facebook Places, is an attempt to make your life a little bit easier. Places is a location service that allows you to share your whereabouts with your Facebook friends in real time. The new application is very similar to other social media location services including Google Places and Foursquare.

In today's Conversation, ABC's Linsey Davis and New York Times technology reporter Jenna Wortham discussed what Facebook's new feature can do, and how it compares to those already on the market.

Facebook Places is a more open way of sharing your location than its leading competitor, Foursquare, says Wortham, partially because the service is open to your entire network of Facebook friends unless you change your settings. You can not only share your location, but tag other people's locations if you are with them or happen to see them in certain place. While that might be a great way to keep in touch with friends, Wortham says it is also a "ripe opportunity for mishap," if you are trying to stay under the radar.

Wortham says that while Facebook Places is already catching some heat from privacy rights groups, including the ACLU, the social media giant doesn't have anything to worry about just yet. The new service does make it very clear how to change your options and always gives you the ability to not allow people to tag your location.

"Facebook is treading very carefully. They've learned from past mistakes and they really want people to start using locations. They see it as the next evolution of their platform, so they are treading carefully. They've posted several Q-and-A's and videos explaining what it is, how you opt in," said Wortham.

Check out today's Conversation and then give us your thoughts on services like Foursquare and Facebook Places.

Click here to read Wortham's writing on the New York Times Bits Blog.

Click here to watch more from the Conversation series.

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