Facebook Tests Location Through RFID AT f8

All attendees of the f8 developer conference are receiving special RFID tags that enable them to check-in to various locations throughout the conference venue. The service lets you tag yourself in photos, become a fan of various Facebook Pages, and share activity to your Facebook profile. While it’s still a concept service, it’s interesting to see some of the things that Facebook developers are currently testing.

Facebook has been widely expected to make some type of location announcement today, yet there are no specific sessions dedicated to explaining how to implement location within Facebook. One can imagine that RFID would be extremely useful for enabling users to check in to various locations, however in its current form, there’s little disclosure on what each check in results in.

For example, there’s a “Facebook Web Development” booth that you can check into by tapping your RFID tag on a reader (pictured to the right). Once you check in, you become a fan, however there is no disclosure what will happen once you swipe your ID card. Thus the process is clearly an early stage test to provide some entertainment value for attendees of the f8 event. It’s definitely interesting though and it’s a sign that we may see other location announcements in the coming hours.

One other cool feature of the presence reader is that all check-ins are displayed on a large display within the main hall of the conference center. The result is that you can watch people as they walk around the venue in theory. While the actual presence tracking doesn’t appear to be functional (in terms of peoples’ exact location), the visualization adjusts as more people check in to various areas throughout the venue.

More f8 coverage to come!

Presence Visualization

Presence Profile Photo Story