In Facebook’s first update to its iPhone app in five months, the company added a new map view for seeing friend’s locations and check-ins for events.
Facebook also changed the user interface for notifications, putting bigger profile pictures in, and added the ability to unfriend people from the iPhone app. Overall, the changes are pretty modest.
The map view will also help people better visualize how close their friends are, which might help if they’re in unfamiliar or new cities (see right).
By allowing users to check-in to Events, Facebook may be able to cross-promote the two features, inspiring users to RSVP and check in more often. As you can see below, users can not only see Nearby Places, but they can also browse Nearby Events. You can only see nearby events that you’re invited to, not all nearby public events. There is some potential for abuse though; a venue could create a persistent event that shows up at the top of the ranking to invited users passing by.
Event checkin stories in the news feed will draw attention to Events that are in progress by, and give Event promoters another way to gauge success. The ‘Attending’ RSVP count isn’t an accurate way to determine foot traffic, as many people say they’ll attend, or not, then do the opposite.
The Check-in screen for events looks almost identical to Places Check-ins. Users can tag friends that are with them there.
Considering that Facebook is aiming for parity between its iPhone and Android clients, expect its Android app to have such an update coming soon. In the five months since Facebook last updated its iPhone app, it has pushed out three releases to the Android platform.