Going Places with Facebook
by Ben Gertzfield - August 18, 2010 at 5:30pm

Today we released Places, a new way for people on Facebook to share where they are, see where their friends have checked in, and discover interesting places nearby. As part of the rollout, we're making Places available to developers via the Graph API, so you can integrate location features into your own mobile applications, websites, and applications on Facebook.

Once you are granted user permission, you can access a user and their friends' check ins on their behalf. More information on the Graph API can be found here.

Through the Graph API, developers can surface this data in their applications to create a variety of social experiences, such as:

  • A travel application that gives people the ability to see which of their friends have already been to the place they are visiting
  • A conference application that makes it easy for attendees to find colleagues and connect with them
  • An event application that enables attendees to see where their friends are at a concert

In the coming months, we will offer additional location features through the Graph API and the Open Graph protocol, including the ability to check in with Facebook through your application and discover places nearby. We're working with an initial set of partners including Gowalla, foursquare, Yelp and Booyah's InCrowd to enable users to share check-ins on Facebook. This new functionality will launch in partner applications soon.

It's important to remember that all access to location information through the Graph API respects a user's privacy controls, which can be viewed and changed on Facebook.com or m.facebook.com. When a person installs an application that needs their location to provide a relevant experience, the application must request access through Facebook's clearly labeled permissions dialog. Developers cannot share location information without a user's express permission, and every user has control over what their friends can share via the API.

We look forward to seeing how you incorporate Places with your applications to help people share their location with friends.

Ben, a Places engineer, recently checked in at Año Nuevo State Park to watch the elephant seals' annual molting ritual.