It looks like Wednesday is shaping up to be an interesting day for the Internet world. Facebook has sent out invites to the industry bigs like Kara Swisher of the Wall Street Journal’s BoomTown preparing for the announcement that is rumored to be about Facebook’s foray into the geolocation game.
Foursquare might want to stock up on the Mylanta on Wednesday.
That’s because a multitude of sources indicate that Facebook will finally be rolling out its own geo-location offering and the date now looks set for the day after tomorrow.
In fact, BoomTown was just ginning up a post on the likelihood that Facebook would be unveiling a check-in service this week when an invite dropped into my email box inviting me to a “news event” at the social networking powerhouse’s HQ in Silicon Valley.
So it’s going to happen. Now it’s a matter of what it looks like and, maybe even more importantly, how Facebook handles this new service with regard to its old nemesis, privacy.
So let’s think about this for a second. Let’s enter “Pure Speculation Land” and think about how this could play out. Hmmmm.
What if Facebook played its “We didn’t think that was going to happen!” card (which is really their arrogant “We hope our stupid user base doesn’t see what we are actually up to” card but with a nicer name) and trampled all over their users privacy yet again. What if you had to opt out of every geolocation aspect of Facebook through a multi-level privacy maze that gives even the best online gamer a headache to navigate? How would the world respond to another instance of Facebook taking a dump on privacy concerns?
That’s the not so nice side of it. What could happen as well is that Facebook does the right thing and allows people to opt-in and play if they would like. This is the most unlikely scenario because it has been proven time and time again that the core Facebook user doesn’t have a clue as to what Facebook is actually doing and will only learn about this new offering by accident and then scratch their head as to what it actually means. As a result, Faceook would not get the adoption rates it would need to make the service truly attractive to advertisers. Hey, there are only 2.4 million foursquare users at the moment and 500 million Facebook users. You do the math on the amount of people that actualy ‘get’ geolocation presently. It’s not a staggering number at all.
While speculation is fun it is not anything to hang our hat on so we will just have to wait like everyone else to see just what Facebook has cooked up in their lab.
How do you think it will look? Will there be a foursquare like mayor badge approach (please God no!!!!!!!) or will there be an actual reason to tell someone where you are every minute of the day? What do you think?
UPDATE: If you would like to see a real in depth look at what this could all look like check out MG Siegler’s post over at TechCrunch.