Palo Alto, Calif. – Facebook on Thursday introduced a new
location-based service, Facebook Places, which will let users of the social
network "check-in" at real-world venues via their mobile phones.
Facebook Places looks to capitalize on the growing popularity of similar
services like Foursquare and Gowalla, and features offered by Yelp and others.

When Facebook users "check-in" at a venue, they can control whether
it will show up as a story in friends’ News Feeds and in the Recent Activity
section for that location.

Currently, the service is only available in the U.S.
for iPhone owners, but the company said it will soon add more countries and
mobile platforms.

Several existing location services have partnered with
Facebook to integrate the new feature, such as Booyah — whose new
"InCrowd" social game will utilize Facebook Places data.

Some 20% of
all check-ins made on Foursquare are already being pushed by users to Facebook,
Holger Luerdorf, Foursquare’s vice president of mobile, told TechCrunch.


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