At the moment Facebook Places is only available in the United States. Or to put that another way, it’s only available to IP addresses associated with the United States. But clearly Facebook has been working on it for several months, and that also means that they have probably been tentatively testing it in other parts of the world, although there’s not a lot of information to go on right now. But, handily, Mark Zuckerberg travels a lot and has probably been testing Places out himself. Evidence to that affect has emerged today via a developer in London.
Arun Stephens has uncovered what looks, at least to our eyes, like a Facebook Places footprint which Zuckerberg and his entourage left behind on their recent visit to the FB hack day and Facebook Developer Garage in London. His findings make interesting reading.
Stephens says he’s recently been working out of the London tech/coworking spot TechHub [Facebook Place] and found four Places in the area. One was the Barbican Centre, where the Facebook Developer Garage happened.
But slightly hilariously another Place was labelled “Wimbledon” – but was in fact a pub near Tower Hill which was showing a Wimbledon tennis match. Did Zuckerberg catch a game in a pub while he was here? Maybe. And who can blame him after a hard day talking to Facebook developers.
Other places which have appeared in London include The South Bank Centre and, bizarrely, arjunabeats, a record label. Another was Dare, a digital agency which was the location of the Facebook hack day. Zuckerberg was at that event at one point and probably checked in. So far, two London hotels are already listed on Places: Courthouse Doubletree Hilton and Le Meridian Hotel.
In other words, London would be blank were it not for Mark’s visit in June.
Meanwhile, the whole privacy debate is poised to kick off when Facebook releases Places in the UK and other European countries, where the issue is a very, very hot potato.
As we pointed out when Foursquare launched in London, plenty of people still have no idea how to use location check-ins wisely.
Update: A Facebook spokesperson has contacted us to clarify: “Places has been a closed Beta for all employees for a while, not just certain employees.” In other words, it’s not just Mark Z.