Facebook Places Launches in the UK, but Where Next?

Facebook has launched its location service Places in the UK. Now users from Japan, the US, the UK, and anyone using a remote VPN account can access Places through the touchscreen-optimized site touch.facebook.com and the Facebook for iPhone app. Details about how to user Places are available on a new Places home page. Facebook appears to be rolling out Places to countries with large user bases for the iPhone and smart phones which can access the feature.

The UK currently has the second largest Facebook-using population after the US, and has a higher market penetration than the United States. The UK’s Oxford University was also one of the first networks outside the U.S. to gain access to Facebook, so it is fitting that Places would also come to England before much of the world. Users there are already taking advantage of the new feature, with public Places like Westminster Abbey and Stonehenge racking up checkins.

Facebook’s new Places home page reveals some specifics about who has access to the feature. It explains that Places can be accessed through smart phones which “support W3 geolocation”. The home page also provides links to the Places FAQ and a user’s privacy settings.

Facebook will have to decide how far to roll out Places. Since much of the feature’s value depends on a critical mass of users, launching in countries without enough phones which support it could lead to a lukewarm response. However, holding the feature back from the world for an extended period of time could make some users feel like second-class citizens of Facebook.

[The stats from this article are excerpted from Inside Facebook Gold, our membership service tracking Facebook’s business and growth around the world. Click here to learn more about our complete data and analysis offering.]