Facebook Places vs Foursquare

A rant on the recent competition between Facebook Places and Foursquare as it relates to intellectual property and the technical industry.

Posted in on October 3, 2010

The other day my friend pointed out something I thought was quite interesting. I have since found myself sharing it with other people. First, a little back story. Facebook recently released the concept of Places. The ability to check-in to a location and update your Facebook profile. This appeals to users of the constantly increasing mobile market. However this concept is not novel. Foursquare had gained some traction with this concept over a year ago. Given, Foursquare was strictly for the mobile platform. So the key difference here is market audience.

So here’s what I found interesting. All of which are facts at the time of this post. You draw your own conclusions. The Facebook iPhone App has icons on the on the application home screen. One of the icons is for the new Places functionality. This icon is square. The icon is a graphical rendering of a map. The icon contains lines which intersect in a pattern. This pattern forms a four.

I don’t like the conclusions I am drawing from what I see here. This tells me a good idea is no longer enough. Most of us developers know that intellectual property really means shit. But now, it would seem, being first to market no longer matters either. Unfortunately, I already figured this out too with LastPlayed. What seems to matter now is how large the platform from which you shout. And, at the moment, Facebook has a much larger platform than Foursquare. In the end, the probability is in Facebook’s favor to beat out Foursquare. No matter if it was indeed Foursquare’s idea or if they were first. As an aspiring web and mobile application developer, it’s tough to see even at the highest level, it’s a chicken eat chicken world.

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