It’s long been speculated, but it looks as though Facebook is closer than ever to launching its much-anticipated check-in solution to take on the LBS market. With an estimated 500M mobile-toting users worldwide, LBS startups should start to worry — or should they?
Though it’s mere speculation at this point, it’s been reported that Facebook will officially launch its check-in initiative within the next few weeks in the form of issuing an application programming interface (API) to enable third-party developers to more deeply integrate existing check-in solutions into the Facebook platform. Could we soon see the likes of Foursquare, Gowalla and Loopt playing nicely with Facebook going forward? It’s in the best interest of Facebook to provide an infrastructure to the LBS market rather than dominate it with a proprietary solution, so it’s a smart move for the social giant.
What’s interesting is that at least one start-up in the geolocation space was told by a Facebook insider that it might want to think about changing the language of a thumbs-up type of feature into “like” — possibly preparing for integration of Facebook’s ubiquitous “like” buttons. In lieu of “checking-in,” Facebook might push “liking” a location instead.
Sources indicate Facebook is collaborating with local search marketing solutions provider Localeze, which powers Twitter’s Places directory, as well as putting Hot Potato to good use — which the company purchased a while back for an est. $10M. Sources also said Hot Potato founder Justin Shaffer will oversee the introduction of geolocation features to Facebook’s existing Events product, so it should start to get very interesting in the coming weeks.