I love how companies “cooperate” in the tech industry. Twitter recently “helped” out TweetMeme by giving them another business to focus on. Facebook has now “helped” out Foursquare by making them wonder what’s next. They also welcomed the company up on stage to announce that they would … GASP … consider what to do with Facebook Places! Apparently Foursquare will eventually have Facebook integration, however right now they are working on their own product roadmap and don’t have the resources to integrate.
Contrast this with Booyah who’s already launching a new application, called InCrowd, on the back of Facebook’s Places API. Granted, Booyah has most likely been pressured by investors to integrate with Facebook’s new services, however one would imagine that the new Places services provides Foursquare with a significant opportunity which they’d want to jump on quickly.
Foursquare happened to be the highest profile company to speak at the event because they were the most at risk of being damaged by Facebook Places. Dennis Crowley, CEO of Foursquare, is still optimistic however, despite appearing to be left in the dark on this one. He told VentureBeat, “If Facebook thinks that location is a good idea, then we are on to something.” Yes Dennis, you were definitely on to something, which is why Facebook just integrated a lot of the existing service’s functionality.
Granted, Foursquare users may not run for the door right away, but it’s only a matter of time. With 2 million users, there’s no way Foursquare users have the majority of their social graph using the product. Instead, a small group of people use the product and now Foursquare will need to figure out a major shift to their product (aka. “Pivot”). Facebook has learned their lesson from the Twitter experience: don’t let a potential competitor get too large. Acquire them or duplicate them early on.
As Techcrunch pointed out, Facebook’s new places logo also happens to be the number 4 in a square. Coincidence?
Facebook has let us know that Foursquare actually had early access to the API but hasn’t yet launched anything. Instead they are figuring out what they want to do with the API.