Updates to this story
One of Foursquare's founders, Dennis Crowley, has publicly dissed Facebook, dismissing the newly launched rival location-based feature called Facebook Places as “boring” and saying it is of no threat to the service that Foursquare offers.
In an interview with The Telegraph he said that Facebook has a larger audience, but that numbers is its only advantage, refering to the half a billion users Facebook has recently amassed. However, he said that Facebok's location-based service has no purpose, no incentive for people to use it, which he ultimately classified as boring.
He said that Facebook does not have the location-based gaming features that Foursquare has, but even if it eventually copied it Fourquare is “working on a raft of new mechanics which we hope will keep Foursquare fresh and 'check-in fatigue' away.”
Crowley did have some good words to say about Facebook. Well, kind of. He said that it “can only be a good thing for location-based services, like Foursquare, as Facebook will educate the masses about check-ins.” In other words, the multitudes of Facebook will eventually flock to Foursquare when they realise it has a much better location-based service.
He said that he envisages Foursquare as being a global location-specific recommendation engine, which will suggest local landmarks, places of interest and so forth, making it a potentially invaluable resource for the tourism industry. This will give it an advantage over rivals keen to simply copy current social networking models.
Location-based social networking is becoming increasingly popular, mainly due to Foursquare itself. However, many others are thinking of or trying to adopt similar measures, not least of all Google in its much-rumoured and much-hyped Google Me offering.
The problem with such services, however, is the liability for abuse. With Facebook well known for privacy issues, does it really need to know exactly where you are at any given time? Indeed, with Google knowing so much about us already, is a location-based service maybe just too much information?