The launch of facebook places is not only significant in the fact that it shows as a company facebook is continually developing and looking for ways to expand it’s platform, but it is also significant in the fact it shows they can take any new idea which has been thought up by them or not and integrate it into facebook to open it up to the largest community on the web.
Facebook places is a way for users to “check in” to locations so their “friends” can see where they’ve been. Users can also add notes against places so their friends can see what they thought of it, what deals they may be able to get there etc, etc… just general info.
All in all, a good idea. Yes. But not an idea of some bright young developer within facebook HQ!
This idea happened to be the brainchild of Dennis Crowley who was named one of the “Top 35 Innovators Under 35″ by MIT’s Technology Review and Naveen Selvadurai.
This pair launched foursquare in march 2009 and now has over 3 million users.
Now, 3 million users all of a sudden doesn’t sound like that many. But that is only because of the monster that is facebook. The majority of websites would be more than happy and may even open a bottle of bubbly at the fact they’ve attracted 3 million users to their website.
The point here is that facebook can take any new idea, such as foursquare, integrate it into facebook and instantly expose it to an audience far greater than anyone else can imagine.
Therefore facebook faces no competition.
Although foursquare’s user base has apparently risen since the launch of facebook places, this will surely not continue. I can only guess this is due to the fact people are now more aware of the concept of “checking in” and are therefore searching for this and discovering foursquare.
Apparently facebook have been developing this for 8 months, so it took them only 9 months to track foursquare’s growth and decide to copy it’s idea.
It’s a shame, but I really feel we won’t see a new successful concept independently run, not integrated into facebook and grow enough to compete with the social giant.
It’s also a shame that more people hadn’t discovered foursquare first. As the 497,000,000 users that are members of facebook and not foursquare will think – cracking idea facebook… Well done.