Facebook talks location features, statistics

With a privacy fight still in recent memory, Facebook's not rushing into location service features

Technology trends and news by Ronny Kerr
June 22, 2010
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Facebook UK developers

One of the most anticipated Facebook features - a location-based service - remains on track to be launched soon.

In London on Monday, at the first-ever Facebook developer event held outside of California, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke briefly on upcoming features and the company's latest statistics.

"We are finishing designing our application soon and hope to offer it soon," said Zuckerberg. The chief executive did not offer any timetable for the service's impending release nor did he elaborate on how the service would function.

Whether Facebook will be creating a whole new location platform for the social site or whether it will simply incorporate data from currently existing services like Foursquare or Loopt is not yet apparent either. The company has discussed the possibility of acquiring or partnering with both location startups.

Given Facebook's very recent withdrawal into a state of defense over privacy issues, the company is wisely deciding to not rush into launching any new features that could fan the flames even more. With privacy advocates now keeping a close eye on the social site's every move, the launch of a location service will be a doubly delicate matter.

In addition to mentioning location, Zuckerberg and Co. also read out some new statistics.

The massive social network, which is expected to register its 500 millionth member sometime over the summer (if it hasn't already), detailed membership counts of individual European countries: 26 million monthly active users in the United Kingdom, 16 million in Italy, 15 million in France, and 10 million in both Germany and Spain.

Impressively, for a region that is far from making up half of Facebook's user base, Europe is responsible for 50% of the “Likes” appearing on the site. Over 100 million “Likes” have been generated on third-party sites since the feature was introduced. Even more impressively, "most" of the one million platform developers are based outside the US, as are 70% of the site's members.

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