Facebook already bridges the divide between the internet and the real world by offering a platform for interacting with your real-life friends online. But that’s not really where the money is, which is why your Facebook feed is probably filled with ads, sponsored posts, or content from websites you follow (like maybe Liliputing?)
Now Facebook is launching a new pilot program to bring content from bricks and mortar shops and other locations to your phone by beaming “Place Tips” to your mobile device.
Facebook’s new Bluetooth Beacons are small devices that can be placed at stores, hotels, or other businesses or landmarks. They’ll send out signals that can be picked up by the Facebook app on your phone when you come within range.
According to the Wall Street Journal Facebook will begin testing the service at eight locations in New York City including the Strand Book Store, Le Parker Meridien Hotel, and the Dominique Ansel Bakery.
The idea is that you’ll be able to get information about the places you’re visiting — and not just info provided by companies. For example you might see photos that your friends have snapped when they were at that location.
Bluetooth Beacons are only one of the ways Place Tips will determine your location. Facebook will also use WiFi and GPS location information for locations such as the Brooklyn Bridge or Times Square.
If you’d rather not get Place Tips, you can turn them off (at launch, Place Tips are only available for iPhone, but they could eventually roll out to Android and other platforms.