Archive for August, 2010


Facebook introduces check-in feature

Social-networking giant Facebook has entered the check-in world. Facebook executives on Wednesday announced the launch of Facebook Places.

Facebook Places is available immediately in the United States through the latest version of Facebook’s iPhone app and, for other advanced mobile phones, through the company’s site for advanced mobile devices, executives announced at Facebook’s headquarters in Palo Alto, California.

Users who wish to announce their location to their friends on Facebook would tap a “check in” button to see a list of places nearby, and then choose the place that matches where they are.

“After checking in, your check-in will create a story in your friends’ News Feeds [on Facebook] and show up in the Recent Activity section on the page for that place.”

Facebook staff also said the feature will be useful not only to let friends know where they are, but also to learn if their friends are nearby at the same time, and to write down what they are doing at the location and what they think about it — creating a trail allowing friends to see what the writer did there days or even years ago.

When users check into a place, they also can “tag” any Facebook friends who are with them, essentially letting other friends know that the person is there, too. To cut down on the potential for users to falsely tag friends to a place, people can tag friends only if the taggers themselves check in to the location, too.

First, check-ins will appear only to users’ Facebook friends as a default, and users can further trim the recipients list to specific friends. Users also can remove check-ins by phone or web at any time, Sharon said.

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Web Photos That Reveal Secrets, Like Where You Live

When Adam Savage, host of the popular science program “MythBusters,” posted a picture on Twitter of his automobile parked in front of his house, he let his fans know much more than that he drove a Toyota Land Cruiser.

Embedded in the image was a geotag, a bit of data providing the longitude and latitude of where the photo was taken. Hence, he revealed exactly where he lived. And since the accompanying text was “Now it’s off to work,” potential thieves knew he would not be at home.

Security experts and privacy advocates have recently begun warning about the potential dangers of geotags, which are embedded in photos and videos taken with GPS-equipped smartphones and digital cameras. Because the location data is not visible to the casual viewer, the concern is that many people may not realize it is there; and they could be compromising their privacy, if not their safety, when they post geotagged media online.
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