After months of anticipation, Facebook officially launched its Places feature to check-in to nearby locations and share the place with your friends. The launch includes an API extension to its Graph API, which will first be read only. Launch partners include location-sharing platforms Foursquare and Gowalla, which are part of a private beta for the upcoming read/write API.
The readable API becomes available about 2 p.m. Pacific on Thursday, though it's already included in the Graph API documentation. It includes calls for reading check-ins for specific users, places or pages, as well as searching a user's friends' check-ins.
"What I'm really excited about is when we flip the switch and let everyone participate tomorrow," Facebook Places Product Manager Michael Gartenberg said.
The launch partners, which also includes business review site Yelp, are fully integrated, including the read/write API. According to Booyah CEO Keith Lee, who heads location app MyTown, another launch partner, they learned of Facebook Places API "a couple weeks ago."
Check-in apps included in the launch are using the Places API to allow for sharing to Facebook friends from within their applications. They're also mixing in additional meta-data specific to their apps, such as Gowalla's passport stamps and shared photos.