Facebook Places: It's Basically Foursquare for Facebook (UPDATED) With Yelp

Facebook Places: It's Basically Foursquare for Facebook (UPDATED) With Yelp

"This is gonna be a really fun, interesting summer," Mark Zuckerberg noted a few minutes ago from a live, streaming press conference. He was not talking about the lead-up to The Social Network, the movie about what a not-nice person he is. What was he talking about? Facebook Places, which he's says they've been working on for "more than a few months." What is it?

Facebook Places: Where you can learn where your friends are, by location. Which is basically Foursquare, for Facebook. Facebook is releasing a new version of their iPhone app tonight with Places on it.

Zuckerberg got on stage and said he was out to dinner with his girlfriend when they realized that, testing the product, their friends were at a restaurant nearby! Which is kinda what the product helps them do! The three main things he told the gathered audience he wanted to do with the product were:

1. "Helping people share where they are."

2. "Helping to see what's going on next to you."

3. "Helping people figure out what's going on in the world."

Facebook Places: It's Basically Foursquare for Facebook (UPDATED) With Yelp

As for the press conference, Zuckerberg was a sweaty, reluctant weirdo. They have yet to do a Q&A, which is coming up, and we'll obviously update this post if anybody asks how this is different from "Foursquare for Facebook," or if they ripped their idea from Foursquare, or if Foursquare is going to sue the shit out of them for using phrases like "Check-In Button" which is exactly Foursquare's dig.

The takeaway:

  • Facebook put Foursquare in Facebook and called it theirs.
  • Like everything else annoying about Facebook, it's the default setting, which means you need to opt out of it.
  • It's also the "Soviet Russia" version of Foursquare, as in, "IN SOVIET RUSSIA, FACEBOOK CHECK YOU IN." No, really, your friends can check you in.
  • There's some kind of partnership with GoWalla, whatever that is.
  • And finally, New York City's tech community is about to freak out. And not in a nice way.
  • Except for Business Insider chief Henry Blodget, who already called it a "Foursquare Killer."

UPDATE: Maybe not. They just mentioned "Foursquare," and brought a Foursquare guy on stage. They say: There are different reasons people use Foursquare. The "game element" as an "added benefit," which is a great thing. They're working with Facebook on this thing. Well, New York tech people are gonna freak out anyway.

UPDATE 2: Christ. They're partnering with Yelp on this thing. Yelp is basically the worst. And they're partnering with a company called "Booyah." This is why I don't cover tech news.

[fkamer@villagevoice.com]


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