There are no shortage of whispers out there right now as to what Facebook’s plans for location are. With rival Twitter having recently announced its geolocation API, the pressure is on the larger network to deliver something. Tomorrow will bring a step in that direction, as Nokia will announce a new service at its Nokia World event that will utilize location within Facebook, we’ve learned.
Now, to be clear, this is not Facebook officially getting into the game itself yet, but it’s big enough that Henri Moissinac, Facebook’s director of mobile, will apparently be using his keynote address at Nokia World to unveil this, we’ve heard.
The app looks to be a direct result of the Nokia purchase of the location-based social network Plazes, in the summer of 2008. As you can see in the screenshot below, an Ovi Map (Nokia’s map property) will reside inside of Facebook and show where you are. It can also update your Facebook status with your location, and a link to it on one of these maps.
Other services such as Yahoo’s Fire Eagle and Whrrl have applications to set your location within Facebook, but those are still rather cumbersome to use, and haven’t taken off within Facebook. Presumably, this Nokia announcement would also be tied into its mobile devices, which could get it access to millions of users right off the bat.
It’s also interesting that this Nokia/Facebook concept appears to work around “checking-in” places, which is what services like Foursquare (and Plazes before it), use for location. That’s different from something like Google Latitude or Loopt, which simply track your location.
At some point, Facebook is going to have to get off the bench and throw its considerable weight into the location-based services arena itself. That’s definitely happening, we’ve heard from many sources, but the question is, when? For now, partnerships will have to do.