Facebook just told me they have nothing additional to add to the NY Times story about adding location to updates and (finally) rolling out a location API:
The new location feature will have two aspects, according to the people familiar with Facebook’s plans. One will be a service offered directly by Facebook that will allow users to share their location information with friends.
The other will be a set of software tools, known as A.P.I.’s, that outside developers can use to offer their own location-based services to Facebook users.
This follows Twitter’s earlier location API and acquisition of MixerLabs and its GeoAPI. Foursquare is also offering an API.
So on one level we’ll have the battle of the developer location APIs. But perhaps more interesting to consider is how deeply Facebook wants to push into Foursquare and Yelp territory. I previously wrote on Internet2Go:
If Facebook does add check-ins for mobile devices does it “kill” Foursquare? My answer would be “no.” Facebook has a massive mobile user base, true, but Foursquare has a loyal following. Just as various Google products were launched in many instances with the moniker “X-Killer,” only in a few cases has this actually turned out to be true. Navigation is one of them.
However, Google Checkout didn’t kill PayPal. Google Base (now closed) didn’t kill Craigslist. Knol didn’t kill Wikipedia. Lively didn’t kill Second Life (yes, it’s still around). Okut didn’t kill . . . well, it hasn’t done very well outside a few isolated markets. And Facebook hasn’t killed Twitter, despite becoming much more Twitter-like over the past six months.
I had predicted that Facebook would buy Foursquare, but instead the social media site appears to be trying to adopt some of its functionality. Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley is a smart guy and understands that he has to keep ahead of his competitors with new content and features.
It would have been smart for Facebook to buy Foursquare — the rumor was that it was sniffing around Loopt — but that ship may have sailed and Dennis Crowley might be adverse to selling, at least at this stage, given his past experience with Dodgeball and Google.
I just spoke with with Skyhook CEO Ted Morgan who credited Crowley with having a “real vision” as opposed to many of the sites in the LBS space, which don’t necessarily have any direction, so to speak.
Facebook in a way is like the high school basketball star that is being recruited by dozens of top-tier colleges; there’s a wealth of choices and options and that may bring with it hesitation and uncertainty surrounding what to pursue and how fast or deeply. Facebook literally could dominate sectors in ways that almost no other company save Google has the potential to do.
As you remember from your Facebook history, the company started as a location-based social network, around colleges and high schools. With the new location API and sharing it will be returning to its local roots — in a manner of speaking.
See related post: Location Will Be Everywhere