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Place-based services

The explosion of mobile devices has added numerous layers to our interaction with each other and with information, most notably – augmented reality and location-based computing. Location-based services (such as Foursquare and Gowalla) allow individuals to “check-in” to physical locations through a mobile app. Once you’re checked in, members of your social network knows your location and is able to connect with you (in person) if they are nearby. I’ve used Foursquare several times to meet people I’ve only known online in the past. This week, Facebook jumped into the location-based game by announcing Places (Techcrunch has posted a useful comparison of various systems). Some are calling Places Facebook’s biggest bet to date. Others say it completes the picture (no idea what “the picture” is…is it the complete fulfilment of Bentham’s Panopticon?)