Will Facebook Places Actually Help Foursquare?

So far, new users are flocking to Foursquare

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This week, Mark Zuckerberg introduced Facebook's much anticipated Places update for Facebook's iPhone app. The new tool functions much like geolocation pioneer Foursquare, allowing users to "check-in" to various locations, as well as tag their friends. Despite mild privacy qualms concerning the new service, many tech and social media writers see this as an opportunity for Facebook to solidify its status as king of the social media space. Yet despite the Facebook's huge push into the geolocation space, Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley wasn't fazed, tweeting that "today was @foursquare’s biggest day ever in terms of new user sign-ups." Will Facebook Places actually help Foursquare, or is the godfather of geolocation on its way out?

  • A Temporary Boost MG Siegler at Tech Crunch thinks Foursquare may enjoy the "Facebook effect," benefiting from Facebook's mainstreaming of geolocation services. "Thanks to the Places API, Facebook is currently serving as a platform for services like Foursquare and Gowalla. And thanks to their 500 million users, Facebook is introducing the concept of location to millions of new users. It shouldn’t be surprising that some of those users are now interested in Foursquare after yesterday’s announcement (and subsequent tidal wave of press)." That said, Siegler does see potential problems ahead for Foursquare. "In particular, you can expect them to partner with businesses to offer deals and other incentives to Facebook members. You know, the kind of stuff Foursquare is doing."
  • Can They Maintain? Adrianne Jeffries at ReadWriteWeb echoes Siegler: "That likely means upwards of 18,000 people signed up for the location-based social network, probably buoyed by a glowing article in today's New York Times and the press generated from yesterday's announcement of Facebook Places."
  • The Differences Are Clearer Now, says The Los Angeles Times' Jessica Guynn: "Foursquare attracts users by getting them to compete for rewards and bragging rights," writes Guynn. "For example, Foursquare users compete to become “mayor” of a physical location by “checking in” there the most times in a 60-day period. Facebook is betting its users will get value not from broadcasting their locations to the world but from sharing their locations with friends."
  • It's Too Early To Tell writes Lucian Parfeni at Softpedia: "It's very possible that, as Facebook fleshes out Places and adds more features and functionality, Foursquare will have to work harder to differentiate itself. And, while the company is clearly thinking at ways it can stay one step ahead, it will be very hard to fight against Facebook's biggest asset, its 500 million users. Facebook hasn't made a very aggressive move with Places. While it definitely competes with Foursquare, Gowalla and others, by duplicating some of their functionality, it has a slightly different focus and will emphasize the 'places' rather than the 'check-ins.''
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