Apple patents “Places” as their answer to the location based local business craze. Foursquare and Gowalla started a big revolution in local advertising with their Check-In services. Users can quickly “check-in” to a local business to notify their social network of where they are. Local advertisers can benefit from the viralness of the program and can offer specials and deals as an incentive to check in.
Facebook took the concept to the next level with “Facebook Places” now with more active users than Foursquare or other late adopter Yelp. Its no wonder that the other players in the game such as Google and Apple are trying to make a play at the attention.
Users may wonder (in vain) if this new Apple Places will integrate with Ping. I love that Apple is after their share of the pie but I can only hope that they will make this a multi-platform opportunity so as to bring in the vast number of non-iPhone users in the market.
Jacob S. Paulsen