This morning AirBnB rolled out a new feature called Social Connections. It draws on Facebook to show users where their friends have stayed and when a location is hosted by someone in their network or one degree removed.
It’s the kind of simple, elegant integration that adds a lot of depth to a service. Sleeping overnight at a complete stranger’s place is not something every traveler is comfortable with. Tying it in to the social graph adds a level of familiarity, perhaps even security to the exchange.
AirBnB claimed there are more than 16 million social connections between friends and classmates amongst their users. It went out of its way to calm fears about privacy with a simple button that lets users turn this feature on and off. But until they do, the feature is automatic.
One side effect of Social Connect, however, is that it provides a free peek into friends spending habits. Local entrepreneur Jonathan Wegener, who describes himself as an AirBnB slumlord, wrote on Twitter, “Loving @airbnb’s new social filter. Only problem is that I see how much my friends paid for their places!”
Aviary’s Michael Galpert didn’t see the issue, and asked Wegener what the problem was. “@msg haha, it’s a lot! I had no idea @gregory was such a baller,” he tweeted in response.
Gregory Gallant, founder of Saw Horse Media, likes to travel in style. He doesn’t seem to mind that his Facebook friends can see what he paid, but it’s a slippery slope when it comes to sharing users financial activity. “I just turned on Chase’s new social filter too…” wrote Gallant.
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