Facebook Quietly Removes Mobile Check-In Feature

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In a huge win for geolocation services like Foursquare and Gowalla, Facebook has quietly said they will be stepping out of the check-in game. Facebook launched it’s checkin service a year ago and it just never caught on like other services had. Facebook users will be able to update their status and tag a location instead of ‘checking-in’.

Some users may be upset but Facebook was reporting that only about 6% of users were using the application the way they had hoped. Early adopters of geolocation say that they weren’t using Facebook places because they were already invested in another geolocation service that offered them more functionality. Some have even said that they didn’t use Facebook check-ins because they were not as close to their Facebook friends as they were to their Foursquare/Gowalla friends and they weren’t sure they needed all of their Facebook friends knowing where they were at any given time.

The takeaways:

  1. Facebook can’t destroy everything. Facebook Places was supposed to destroy Foursquare and Gowalla but they seemed to make it through unscathed. Actually, Foursquare is thriving. Many feel Facebook (and Google) wait to see what applications become popular and then they just launch it themselves.
  2. Being the biggest doesn’t mean you are perfect for every application. Facebook may have the problem of being too big. Adding a geolocation service made a lot of people uncomfortable. An online community that has your significant other, best friends, old high school friends, neighbors, old professors, your grandparents and an ex or two – may not be the right audience to tell where you are located at all times.
  3. Early adopters are no longer on Facebook. A service like geolocation gets momentum from early adopters but now Facebook is the norm, not something new. Trying new advanced functions may turn off the general Facebook population.

What do you think? Did any of you use Facebook check-ins a lot?

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