With Facebook Places launching yesterday, the big question was, how will it affect startups specializing on location services - Foursquare and company. It now looks like, at least initially, it's helping them out.According to a tweet from Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley, yesterday, the day Facebook Places launched, was the startup's biggest days ever, in terms of new signups.
“Just heard from The @HarryH that today was @foursquare’s biggest day ever in terms of new user signups,” he tweeted.
It's a bit surprising, but perhaps understandable. With all of the attention Facebook Places was getting and with the huge number of people getting acquainted with location services for the first time, it's to be expected that some of them were interested enough to find more info and discover Foursquare.
The startup offers arguably the most popular location-based service (LBS) around and the product is more feature-rich than what Facebook is currently offering, so those that wanted to give this type of service a try ended up on Foursquare.
But it's way too early to tell if Facebook's move is beneficial for Foursquare. It's very possible that, as Facebook fleshes out Places and adds more features and functionality, Foursquare will have to work harder to differentiate itself.
And, while the company is clearly thinking at ways it can stay one step ahead, it will be very hard to fight against Facebook's biggest asset, its 500 million users.
Facebook hasn't made a very aggressive move with Places. While it definitely competes with Foursquare, Gowalla and others, by duplicating some of their functionality, it has a slightly different focus and will emphasize the 'places' rather than the 'check-ins.'
And the social network is also providing an API which will allow any third party to push check-in data to Facebook. But even with the seemingly friendly approach, it's hard not to notice that Facebook is without doubt competing with other location services, so the next few months should prove interesting.