On March 9, the New York Times reported that Facebook would announce a Foursquare-killer at the developer conference that went to down yesterday.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.
But yesterday came and went and nobody from the company mentioned anything about any location-based features.
(There was something called “Facebook Presence” where attendees got cards they could use to check-in from various locations at the event, but a spokesperson tells us this was “just a hack-a-thon project” and a separate thing from any location-based service Facebook may or may not announce at some point.)
So anyway, how come no announcement?
One wild possibility — and really it’s just a conspiracy theory making its way through Silicon Valley — is that Facebook is in talks with Foursquare and it didn’t want to botch negotiations by announcing a rival product.
What’s fun about this rumour is that it’s an easy one to talk yourself into believing.
- Dennis “checked-in” at Facebook during a recent visit to the ValleyEveryone knows Foursquare will listen to offers because it listened to Yahoo’s. Who wouldn’t rather go to Facebook than Yahoo?
- One source close to Foursquare’s fundraising tells us: “It’s obvious what’s going on here. Dennis is going to sell to someone he admires.”
- There were some rumours that Facebook kicked the tires on Foursquare rival Gowalla a couple months ago.
- Facebook tried to buy Twitter in 2008 with $100 million in stock and $100 million in cash. Twitter said no, in part, because it wanted more cash. Facebook didn’t have it then. Thanks to strong revenues and a big investment from Russian firm DST, Facebook now has that cash.
- Foursquare CEO and cofounder Dennis Crowley visited Facebook on his recent swing through the Valley.
- The type of people users are “friends” with on Facebook are a lot like the type of people they’re “friends” with on Foursquare.
Again, all this is pure speculation. But we had fun thinking it up and figured you’d want to join in.
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