Facebook is under a lot of heat right now for how it shares our personal information. So much so that it is trying to simplify its privacy controls to so that nobody gets surprised when that embarrassing drunk photo you thought you were sharing only with a close set of friends finds its way all over the Web. (Hint: don’t put up drunk photos of yourself on Facebook). But this problem is only going to get worse.
Right now, what people share on Facebook is usually pretty tame: a status update, photo, a link, a video, an action in an app. The ones with the greatest potential to creep people out are the geo-specific ones, which probably explains why Facebook is taking its sweet time to roll out its own geo features like geo-tagged updates and photos. If you think the current uproar over Facebook privacy is bad, wait until Facebook embraces location-based apps in a big way.
This is not just a Facebook problem. It is an issue every major Web service is starting to deal with from Google to Twitter to Foursquare. They all want us to overshare and make it almost too easy for us to do so. The more we share with them about where we go and what we like to do, the more they can show us what other people who we care about are doing nearby or have done in the past. That basic premise is what is so compelling about geo apps. I can check in at a restaurant in the West Village on Foursquare and see that Fred Wilson ate there once and loved the lamb bolognese. That is a very powerful recommendation because I see that right before I look at the menu when I’m hungry and trying to decide what to eat.
Thanks: TechCrunch/Erick Schonfeld