In January, we reported that a Foursquare-Killer from Facebook was imminent. Now there’s a launch date.Nick Bilton at the New York Times reports that Facebook will announce the new feature at its developers’ conference in April.
NYT: Starting next month, the more than 400 million Facebook users could begin seeing a new kind of status update flow through their news feed: the current locations of their friends.
Facebook plans to take the wraps off a new location-based feature in late April at f8, the company’s yearly developer conference, according to several people briefed on the project, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss unannounced services.
When we reported Facebook’s plans in January, Foursquare cofounder Dennis Crowley told us he expected Facebook and others to launch “check-in” functionality, making it “commodity by the end of the year.”
Dennis said Foursquare’s survival depends on providing “the most incentive for a user to check-in.” Right now, Foursquare awards frequent users badges and calls the users who check-in at certain venues the most “mayor.”
“I think we’re doing this better than anyone else and I think we’ll continue to do so. We have so much stuff on the whiteboard that we haven’t even touched yet… we’re really just getting started.”
In January, we listed who Dennis and company are going against. Here’s that list again:
- Advantages: Scale, brand, ardent community, large app install base. More money from investors like Elevation Partners.
- Disadvantages: Not your real friends. It’s a site for writers. No Foursquare-like gaming element.
- Advantages: Closer to mainstream than Foursquare. Has more money than Foursquare, from sexy investors like Greylock. Not based in New York so it’s closer to “real” America.
- Disadvantages: Not based in New York, which is the perfect city for this kind of software.
- Advantages: Huge scale. Has tons of engineering talent. Like with Foursquare, Facebook friends are your real friends — the kind of people you want to join you when you go out.
- Disadvantages: Unlike Foursquare, Facebook can afford to fail.
Potential rivals also include Twitter and CitySearch.