Facebook Launches Places in Japan

As reported earlier on TechCrunch, Japan has officially become the first country outside of the United States to receive Facebook Places. It comes as no surprise that Facbeook HQ made Japan top priority in releasing Places – with Japan’s social urban lifestyle and feature loaded cell phones, Japan is a hotbed for location services. Foreign location services like Foursquare and domestic services like CoroPura and Tou.ch have grown immensely popular; Shibuya Station reigns as the most checked in location in the world on Foursquare. The launch of Facebook Places also comes on the heels of Mixi’s latest announcement of their location service “Check-in”. With nearly all Japanese 3G cellphones having GPS functionality since 2007, all of these services have considerable room to grow – though it is still unclear whether Japanese users will opt for foreign or domestic services.
The launch of Facebook Places in Japan also comes preloaded with an extensive variety of locations already integrated thanks to an unnamed 3rd party database. Up until this weekend, the listed locations on Places was barren save for a few check-ins by beta testers. Now, locations in and around Tokyo are nearly complete, and even on my weekend adventure into the country side I found numerous locations pre-registered. While Facebook Japan continues with the development of their local mobile site and integration of “Like” buttons in major websites,  Facebook Places will play a role as Facebook Japan continues to grow their user base.

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