Twitter is moving into Foursquare and Gowalla’s territory. CEO Evan Williams just announced at Chirp that it is starting to add places as a geo-location feature. Twitter turned on geo-location for developers last November, andbegan playing around with map features on Twitter.com itself last month. Currently, geo-tweets contain the lat/long coordinates, and can be identified by city or neighborhood. But Twitter will start matching them to actual places so that if someone is Tweeting from a specific place, such as the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, users will be able to see other Tweets from the same location. Twitter is calling these Points of Interest.
While Ev didn’t mention it on stage, it is likely that Twitter is creating its own directory of places, probably through its recent acquisition of Mixer Labs and its GeoAPI. Once you Tweet from a place, that is not much different than checking in, which is what you do in apps like Foursquare or Gowalla.
John Battelle, who is acting as an MC at the Chirp conference, asked Ev if Twitter is going to introduce checkins. Ev responded that wasn’t the current plan: “We are not looking to duplicate the functionality of Foursquare and Gowalla. When you are tweeting about a place, it is kind of a checkin, but we are more interested in the content about that place.”
Of course Foursquare and Gowalla and other location apps will be able to use Tweets about places in their apps through Twitter’s APIs. But still, if you can Tweet where you are, why would you check in? People looking to avoid check-in fatigue might just stick with Twitter.
Read our full Chirp coverage.