Face it, some people need to let you know everything that they do (Blair Stover is now checking into Applebees, Blair Stover is now checking into Blair Stover’s home, etc), yet other people, like to contribute to a more accurate web. Others still like to get discounts and promotions straight to their phone browser based on their location or what their “peers” are doing. If either of these scenarios sounds like you, location-based Internet applications Foursquare and Facebook Places will satisfy your needs in similar ways.
Both applications rely on the GPS (Global Positioning System) that is increasingly found on all but the cheapest of cell phones. Your every move can be tracked if you set your privacy settings correctly (or incorrectly). The problem is that GPS isn’t always 100% accurate. Luckily, Foursquare will let you edit your perceived location to match your physical location, a feature that Facebook Places currently does not have.
Internet companies often start as one business and morph into another as customer usage, feedback and external business forces. The look and feel and purpose of both services will probably be much different next year. Foursquare started as a stand-alone company focused solely on where young people meet, namely bars and restaurants. Foursquare wanted you to be able to know where your friends are so you can “hook up” in person. Facebook, is the social “everything”, and will probably be very similar to Foursquare as it grows in the coming years.
Which service is for you? If you are a Facebook junky, go with Places. If you would like to join another community of friends, get off the Facebook grid and try out the Foursquare scene. Or if you can’t decide, get your GPS phone and try both!