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Sobees' My Friends maps out Facebook check-ins

Facebook's Places feature is handy when you're on the phone, but offers few ways of seeing how close you are to your friends. The My Friends app from Sobees fills that gap nicely.

Four-buck iPad app My Friends from social-aggregation company Sobees has a new trick up its sleeve as of this morning that makes browsing through your friends' Facebook Places check-ins a more eyeball-friendly experience.

The app, which acts as a dolled-up interface for Facebook, now lets you browse Places check-ins in chronological order, as well as see them on an integrated Google Map. The feature joins other familiar Facebook mainstays like photos, chat, and events--all of which My Friends has skinned to fit within the iPad's rectangular interface.

My Friends
The My Friends app for iPad offers up a more visually interesting way to see where Facebook buddies have checked in. Screenshot by Josh Lowensohn/CNET

The Places browser in My Friends offers up the same general experience that can be found in a handful of other geo-based mobile services like Gowalla, Loopt, and Foursquare--though just for Facebook. Users simply click on a friend's face on the map to see where they checked in. Clicking on the little blue arrow then expands it to give you the full conversation view to see if other users have commented on it, as well as give you a place to pen your own response.

The app is limited to showing just the last 29 check-ins from your friends, and you're unable to drill down to see all the past check-ins of any one particular user in their profiles. And while neat, it's a far cry from being as pretty as the visualization of live Facebook Places check-ins the company was showing off at the unveiling of the feature. Still, until Facebook offers up a map view on its mobile client, this is one of the few ways to get a visual representation of where your friends are at any given time.

See also: WeePlaces, which aggregates Gowalla, Facebook, and Foursquare check-ins in the browser.