Last night lots of updates came in through Twitter and Facebook that the latter may have enabled its places service here in Finland and Sweden. Facebook Places is a similar location based service like Foursquare and Gowalla, but it doesn’t have any game mechanics built into it. The venues are also better integrated into Facebook’s own platform. The service was announced earlier this year available in the US, UK and Japan. It also works in many European countries currently. Last night some users on iPhones and Androids were able to check in to venues in Finland and Sweden. The situation has changed for some in Finland, but reportedly still works.
Twitter user @luovanto (aka Jussi Mäkinen) tweeted earlier yesterday that he was able to check in on Facebook Places. He also ponders if he was the first one in Finland. Hard to say, but others have then checked in on iPhones and Androids. I have been unable to get it to work, as have some friends of mine.
However, there are still people on the Android platform that have been able to use the Places check in. One confirmed check-in was done in Finland this morning. Another person from Estonia tells that even they are now able to see the venues and check-in buttons, but the service gives an error when trying to check in.
Why is this such a big deal then? Mainly, because of the Facebook Places deals feature. The deals feature allows users to get discounts off retailers and they are able to share these offers with friends. It’s one of the most interesting ways Facebook is and will be able to drive consumers into stores to further extend their reach over consumers.
Earlier in December, I had the chance to talk to Sam Rihani, a Facebook account executive working in Stockholm and he mentioned that Facebook Places will be opening up in the Nordics very soon. He did not disclose how soon, but it could be that we’ll have Places open for us in a matter of days.