Cool! Google Places Now Allows You To Import Foursquare Data …Via RSS, So No One Will

When I first saw the ReadWriteWeb headline: Google Places Now Imports Your Foursquare Check-Ins, I was surprised. Wow, that’s interesting, and could be huge, I thought. Then I wondered why neither Foursquare nor Google was touting this?Again, could be big for both! Then I read the not-so-fine print.

Oh. RSS. Meh.

Turns out, Google is touting this, quietly. On their Google Places blog (one of Google’s 100 or so blogs), they have a post today entitled: Better access to your content is, well, better. Buried in this post, towards the bottom, you’ll see the note that you can now import other feeds of location information into Places. Writes Google:

To do that, just find the URL of a public GeoRSS/Atom feed that contains place information you care about. This could be anything from a feed of your Foursquare check-ins to a My Map you may have created years ago.

In other words, no one is actually going to do this.

You have to go to a special Foursquare page, copy the RSS feed link, go back to Google Places, paste it there, and wait as they import your items. “It’s really easy!,” Marshall Kirkpatrick writes. I’m actually not sure they could have made this less intuitive. If you’re going to make this option, at least make a simple tool for it.

Still, it is a nice option to have for the 13 of you that will use it. As a longtime Foursquare user, I have a long history of check-ins dating back more than two years (and longer if you count the Dodgeball check-ins they allowed you to import way back when as well). And Google notes that they sync those locations up with the corresponding venues in Google Places (or they do their “best” to).

Trying it out, the results seem to sync up well. But I can’t get it to go beyond my ten most recent Foursquare check-ins. So much for my entire Foursquare history.

Again, this is actually a good idea, I just wish it wasn’t such a shoddy implementation on the front-end. My guess is that’s because Foursquare has no idea about this. (And, to be fair, Google says you can do this with any location feed.) After all, there’s a war going on for location data. And Google and Foursquare are sort of like ex-roommates who had a falling out way back when.