UPDATED 17:34 EDT / AUGUST 18 2010

Foursquare Partnership!? No! The Real Time Value of Facebook Is About Places – Facebook Places

image Kristen Nicole wrote up the news that Kara Swisher was teasing out regarding the big Facebook press event (happening now) and after party.  Tonight, we will hear the news that Kara is calling Facebook Places. Will it be the real time location or geolocation intelligence feature that will rival the other existing smaller players like Foursquare.

News circulated fast earlier in the week.  Our initial angle was a edge or location feature and service. Earlier I reported and predicted that Foursquare would either be part of the deal or on the way to a death sentence:

Facebook’s interest in mobile is very important to them and it’s a Foursquare killer. It’s not so much about [a] checking-in feature as it is about mobility and the future of advertising. A source close to Facebook told me that the amount of mobile uptake is growing leaps and bounds, and that the user behavior shown in social games points to the future of their ad model – interactive value. Checking in at locations allows Facebook to provide real time value at “point of geo” context. Simply put: Facebook could deliver real value to users where they are, and in context to their preferred user expectations – shopping, searching, discovering, etc..

I expect that location (a la Foursquare) will be less about cool new feature and much more about value to the user and of course leveraging the “social graph” data from users friends and preferences. This translates into a powerful opportunity not only for the main Facebook product but for all of their applications that run on top of the Facebook platform.

In terms of [adoption], a minor uptake on Facebook will crush the overall numbers of Foursquare. My guess is that Foursquare must cut a deal with Facebook or risk being left out in the cold, as Facebook would go it alone with an in-house solution that is more comprehensive and more in line with the app and social game market (hello virtual currency).

As I was reporting and predicting it looks like Foursquare is involved according to sources close to Kara Swisher.  Update: Foursquare is just a launch partner and Dennis Crowley didn’t show up.  It’s a little of both and awkward for Foursquare in that Facebook just took over their market.

Facebook is instantly turning on geolocation (the ability to update your Facebook information from a physical location like a bar or restaurant) to 500m users instantly.  Facebook will also showcase some of their key partners such as venture backed application developers.

Facebook is launching Facebook Places into production tomorrow.  A new check-in service, the ability to push information on where you are to your friends, for the Facebook platform.  According to Mark Zuckerber, it took Facebook a long time to develop and months to test the Places product.

Facebook Places is is one of those no brainer products that just needed to be developed. With mobile user growth and computing expanding, the new user behavior demanding “edge” real time functionality – Facebook had to develop this product.  It is a must have for users and to valuable for Facebook not to give up.

3 Main Things To Facebook Places – Location Check-In

1.  A way to share where a user is in a new social “activity stream” way – as Mark Zuckerberg says “in a in social way”

2.  Finding out who is around you.  To find out where your friends are at

3.  A search like feature (search as in social and Facebook way) in that it helps users see what’s going on and to find places to go.

It appears that Facebook has learned a thing about privacy.  They are offering very clear privacy according to Michael Sharon the lead on Facebook Places.  On  big exciting thing about Places is the API.  This is a direct strike at Foursquare who is competing with Facebook at the platform level.  Ouch.  Facebook is pushing the API.  According to Mark Zuckerberg, there will be no changes to the developer program.

Partners are launching with Facebook.   Gowalla is here, Foursquare is here.  Yelp is here.  Booyah (MyTown) is here.  This confirms that Gowalla and Foursquare are not dead.  A deal has been cut.  Gowalla and Foursquare have only one move – application player.

Chris Cox, VP Product of Facebook talks about the ideology behind Facebook Places.  Technology can enable more positive interaction (look like he’s been reading SiliconANGLE because we cover where Computer Science meets Social Science -our motto since we founded).  As an aside, Facebook really needs to address the cyberbullying issues in schools.  I’m all for productive interactions a noble cause.

Facebook Places will roll out in the United States only then phased out when Facebook thinks it’s ready.

My Angle:

First on Foursquare ?? No It’s Facebook Places.  Foursquare doesn’t make any sense.  Foursquare is trying to make a play at the platform level and data level.  With regard to Facebook Places the action will be at the application layer.  According to Facebook employee here at the announcement, Facebook new announcement Facebook Places will change the game for applications developers.

Innovation opportunity for the industry is coming with every new Facebook announcement.  Mark Zuckerberg told me privately that more is coming.  He said that they plan a startup event next week to start getting the ecosystem of developers to learn more about the cool new things Facebook’s new service has to offer.

Facebook Places is a game changer for Facebook and for applications developers. It’s a new way for users to experience social ways to use the web and connect with others including their friends.  Facebook Places is Foursquare, but instead for a much larger audience – the 500 million Facebook users.

This announcement from Facebook will have an immediate impact and will kick off a massive innovation cycle (I published earlier in the year).  If you want to learn about how important this trend is read my innovation cycle post – here.

Future of Search – It’s Not About Web Crawling But Instead Activity Streams and Data

The big deal here is what I have been tracking for some time – the future of search.  Google beware.  Facebook Places creates new data (innovation cycle) and a new user experience.  Combine that innovation cycle with the 500m user and a rabid developer community and there your have it – the “future”.  Future of mobile and the future of search is here because the information is freely available in activity streams on any device and real time value is now about location and knowledge at the users fingertips fully sharable to their social graphs – friends.

This is powerful in that it enables a new user experience and discovery paradigm.  This will yield a new search model for the industry.  Facebook is the new network and platform.  If Google doesn’t address this then the rug will be pulled out right from under their feet.


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