Facebook Places allows users to check-in to locations using a mobile phone, much like Foursquare, Gowalla, or Yelp. But up until recently the feature was only available in a handful of countries including the US, Australia, Taiwan, and some European nations. Now it looks like Facebook Places has added a number of new countries including the Philippines, Egypt, South Africa, and more. I discovered the change by accident today.

I was out on an errand a while ago when I decided to check my Facebook account. Then I noticed something different from the options on top of the main menu of the Facebook on my iPhone. Lo and behold, and option called “check in.”  I quickly tap on this option and I was brought to the Facebook Places screen. Since my iPhone’s location settings was always on, the app quickly searches for nearby establishments and I was able to check in to where I was.

I also checked if the Places option was already available on the Facebook app menu screen and it was. Previously, whenever I tap on this option, I always the message that the feature is not yet available in my region.

Based on my first “check in” to Facebook Places, I can’t help but compare it with Foursquare. It works as fast as Foursquare and the apps have pretty much have the same function. So there. Say goodbye to the tedious process of using a U.S.-hosted VPN account just to access Facebook Places on your iPhone.

Anybody else who previously couldn’t use Facebook Places noticed the changes? Feel free to leave a comment. We would like to know whether other countries got the Facebook Places activated as well. Incidentally, if you also own an Android phone Facebook Places is also activated on the Facebook Android app.