Facebook Places and Foursquare: who'll own "location"?
Facebook yesterday announced their offering in the geolocation "check-in" space -- a new feature called Places. The company also said it will be working to integrate with the two leading players in the field: Foursquare and Gowalla.
Both Foursquare and Gowalla have been on a tear, adding users by leaps and bounds (especially Foursquare.)
But how will these two darlings fare with Facebook, the 800 pound gorilla, now playing in their space?
Personally, I think you'll start to see new subscribers to Foursquare and Gowalla start to slow down in coming months -- unless those two services can find dramatic new ways to differentiate themselves. (I like Michael Gartenberg's analysis of the Facebook Places announcment.)
In the meantime, I bet you'll start to see businesses experimenting with ad and marketing campaigns on Facebook Places (and shifting their efforts from Foursquare) since so many are already running Facebook campaigns to begin with.
At the end of it all, my prediction is that in 12 months or so, Facebook just buys off either Foursquare or Gowalla, fully integrates them into the Facebook platform, and the other just fades away.
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