Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
Although it seems as if Foursquare and Facebook are new bosom buddies now that Foursquare has officially joined the Places parade, along with Yelp, Gowalla and Booyah— the popular geo-location service is clearly treading carefully.
During Wednesday’s presentations, many of the partners presented the outlines of comprehensive integration plans. For example, Booyah’s CEO Keith Lee announced the launch of InCrowd, a new social game specifically designed to leverage the functionality of Facebook Places. By comparison, Foursquare’s presentation was bare bones— a mere gesture that at some point in the near future Foursquare will find a way to take advantage of Places. The truth is they have no idea how this Places partnership will shake out.
Of course, these rivals are no strangers. The companies have been working together since last year, when Foursquare added Facebook integration (to allow users to push check-ins to Facebook’s feed). That foundation has led to a high level of interactivity and, according to Holger Luedorf, Foursquare’s new VP of Mobile, about 20% of Foursquare check-ins are now pushed to Facebook. Thus, it makes sense for Foursquare to want to ultimately closely integrate with Places. According to Luedorf, who sat down with us after the Places announcement (see video above), Foursquare has known about the project for a few weeks and their relationship is generally friendly. “It’s interesting to see how this plays out, but the discussions so far have been very amicable,” he says.
However, given the overlapping functionality of Places and Foursquare, and yes, what I imagine are still fresh wounds from a (rumored) Facebook takoever that almost happened, I don’t blame Dennis Crowley for taking some time to plot his next move. Interesting indeed.