Some folks are seeing a new, Places-based, checkin-focused module on Facebook.'Popular Places' shows locations at which friends in your network frequently check in. It appears for some users on the right column of the web interface, where you might normally see events, advertisements or the increasingly irrelevant 'poke' list.Ideally, this new feature could help you find interesting, personally relevant destinations in your area. It will also be one of the first ways Facebook is singling out and surfacing checkins aside from having them appear in the news feed.The module was first spotted in the wild by Inside Facebook, which publication reported in September that a 'Recent Checkins' module had also been spotted on the site.Facebook launched Places, its location-based checkin service, in August. A developer API was launched the same day. The API was read-only; The functionality of a 'recent checkins' or 'popular places' app is the kind of thing that would be enabled by a read-only API.Facebook released write and search APIs to a limited number of private beta partners, including such companies as Foursquare and Yelp, back in August.However, from the point of view of the businesses operating at those locations, Popular Places also acts as a bit of free advertising â€” all the more reason for SMBs (thatâ€™s small and medium-sized businesses) to start using Places, in conjunction with Facebook Pages, now.While there are rumors about Facebook Places-based advertising deals in the works, nothing has yet been confirmed by Facebook. Businessesâ€™ best bet for the time being is organic marketing â€” encouraging visitors to check in and hoping those checkins pop up frequently in the stream and in Places-focused modules.Have you seen Popular Places or other Places-based modules randomly popping up on Facebook.com? Let us know in the comments!
Author: Mashable.com / Posted: 02-11-2010