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Facebook Uses Beacons
To Enable Local Content Delivery

Over the past couple of years, there have been a number of companies who thought that delivering targeted information to mobile users based on their current location could be a very lucrative business, e.g. companies such FourSquare or Yelp.

Now Facebook has also entered this business with a new service called Place Tips.

The service will initially be based on bluetooth “Beacons” and is being trialled in New York.

According to Facebook, the objective of Place Tips is to provide “fun, useful, relevant information about the place you’re at.”

FB-bluetooth-beaconFacebook will determine the users location using a variety of technologies. Initially they are installing Facebook Bluetooth Beacons in a number of locations around New York, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a bookstore, a bakery, and the Le Meridien Hotel.

These beacons transmit a bluetooth signal over a range of a few hundred feet, and can be used to accurately identify if a particular person is in the area. Eventually Facebook will also use other means to determine location such as cellular networks, WiFi, and GPS, as these technologies can cover a much wider area.

Once Facebook has determined that you are in an area of interest, Place Tips will appear above your Newsfeed.


When you click on Place Tips, you’ll see a series of cards about the place you are at. Viewing these Place Tips will let you find things like posts and photos your friends have shared with you about that place, upcoming events, popular posts from the place’s Facebook page, etc.


For example, the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Or New York’s Central Park.


Place Tips will be an “opt-out” service. This means that users can turn it off, but it will be on by default. You will have to specifically go to the Facebook preferences screen to stop the notifications.

In addition, Place Tips will be disabled if the user has not allowed Facebook to use their location at all.


Clearly Facebook recognizes the value of being able to bring targeted information to people depending on where they are, but as of yet they have not announced any plans as to how they will monetize this service.

It is easy to imagine advertisements or coupons being delivered to Facebook users based on their location, but for now Facebook has said they are “focused on making sure this feature in its current state feels valuable to people.”

04.02.2015    Tags: , , ,
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