During the lead-up to Facebook’s announcement of their new check-in/location functionality, many wondered what effect it would have on other LBS startups that occupy the same market — namely Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp and a host of others.
That question was answered today as Facebook announced their new API to go along with its “places” functionality. Reps from Foursquare and Gowalla even took the stage during the announcement to talk about how they plan to leverage the new API to their advantage. In short, Facebook made it clear that they intend to play nice with other LBS apps.
Both Foursquare and Gowalla, along with additional launch partners Booyah and Yelp, will allow you to check-in and publish the data to your Facebook feed using the new API. Your badges/rewards/pins will transfer over as well. Booyah has taken it a step further and will even launch a brand new app called “inCrowd” to specifically take advantage of the places API. Other LBS apps and future startup will definitely want to take advantage as well, as leveraging Facebook’s 500M users is obviously advantageous.
What should be interesting to find out is how the new tagging feature introduced along with places will be accessible via the API, and how other LBS apps utilize it. Basically, tagging in terms of places involves adding tags via an “@” sign to photos, status updates and to friends that are checking into a venue with you. It’s something that undoubtedly be introduced by other LBS apps and it should be interesting to find out how everything will come together.
Facebook said today the Places read API will be available tomorrow while a full on write & search Places API is still in closed beta.