FriendThem CEO Charles Sankowich is preparing a lawsuit against Facebook after what he claims was the outright theft of his “Find Friends Nearby” feature.
According to the CEO he spoke with senior Facebook executives about his idea in February 2012. The premise is simple, use GPS signals to track friends and potentially make new friends in nearby locations.
After his dinner with Facebook executives Sankowich says one executive said “I really like this idea.”
Now Facebook is claiming that an employee at the company just happened upon the same premise during a Facebook hackathon. According to a Facebook friend the program at the time was called “Friendshake.”
Social coupon service Groupon has acquired Ditto which specialized in connecting users with other local customers interested in the same type of food and entertainment options.
At this time it appears that Groupon purchased the company as part of a “talent acquisition” and will shut down the company’s iPhone app.
The possibility of integrating Ditto type services with Groupon is exciting, for example Ditto created a system in which friends could follow one another to determine what they are doing, friends could then decide to join in on a movie or lunch. The company also integrated its service with Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare so plans could easily be shared across various networks.
It’s not clear how much Groupon paid for Ditto.Me which currently has a 4.5 out of 5 stars rating with just 58 reviews and 1000 Facebook likes. read more
While Foursquare has never quite had the hold on most social users daily routines as Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, it is the largest location based service in the world and on Monday the company celebrated that fact by announcing 20 million users and more than 2 billion check-ins.
The New York-based company held its 3rd annual 4sqDay on Monday (number four squared based on the date) and in honor of that day anyone who checked in anywhere received a 4sqDay badge.
Here is the concept behind the day as declared by Foursquare:
In 2010, foursquare fans declared April 16 4sqDay (4/4^2 – nerds after our own heart!). Two years and two billion check-ins later, you’re still why we get out of bed each day. Thanks to all 20 million of you for making us part of your lives. Happy 4sqDay!
The 20 million user mark is a huge jump from the company’s February numbers of just 15 million users and 1.5 billion check-ins. The increase in users was likely the result of the company’s announcement on March 16 that it had integrated with Facebook Timeline, making check-ins easier to share. read more
As location based check-in services such as Foursquare and Facebook Places attempts to make a bigger dent in the online market they may want to rethink how they target their adult demographic. That’s because adults in a recent study revealed that only 5% of older users take advantage of location based services and everything they offer.
Surveying 37,000 people the Forrester Group found that only 2% of adult users take advantage of location based services (LBS) at least once or more per week, while 1% of users claim to use the service once a month and 2% of users say they use the service but less than one time per month.
The heart of the issue appears to be that many adults don’t even realize that location based services exist, for example 70% of respondents said they didn’t even realize that location based check-in programs exist. That 70% statistics is however a vast improvement over the 84% of adult users who were unfamiliar with location based services in 2010.
Location based services also appear not to resonate with a subset of adults with 10% saying they have seen the programs used but have chosen not to use them and the remaining 14% say they have heard of the program but have never seen them actually used by anyone. read more
In the previous version of Foursquare users would earn a badge and then move onto other check-in events to earn other types of rewards, leaving behind their “Swarm” and other badges, however the company is now offering a “Level Up” system which adds increasing levels each time an event is earned.
The new system current affects 24 category badges including “JetSetter,” “Great Outdoors,” and “Wino” among others
According to Foursquare Head of Product Alex Rainert:
“It’s rewarding exploration and awarding expertise,” and “It’s a platform to showcase tastemakers and get their content exposed.” read more
In case you missed them we have five stories from 9/5/11 through 9/9/11 that you should be sure to check out. Whether you’re a Facebook user with multiple admin pages, a Foursquare users trying to figure out why your friends haven’t adapted the technology or an Instagram fan we have something this week that you’ll find engaging. Also be sure to check out our post about the Google acquisition of Zagat and Google’s big plans for the Google +1 button.
Facebook pages are meant to provide users with a forum to share a specific interest or set of interests, this week it was discovered that page creators could be booted from their own pages by administrators who they assigned to help moderate their public forums. Facebook FAQ say that type of activity isn’t allowed but it was discovered to be a possibility.
Smartphone users love to play Angry Birds, even check their email, text message and make phone calls, what they don’t care much for is the ability to “check-in” at locations using location based services such as Foursquare and Gowalla. This article examines numbers provided by a recent Pew Research Survey and shows that less than 15% of users have taken to location based services and even fewer of those users are checkin-in each day.
Instagram is quickly becoming a juggernaut in the social sharing photo platform world. While Flickr took 2 years to reach 100 million photos, Instagram reached that same level in just 8 months while attracting 7 million users in just nine months. This infographic shows the incredible speed at which Infogram has become a big player in the photo sharing world. read more
Google on Thursday announced their newest acquisition, the location-based review company Zagat. The deal, likely to be one of Google’s biggest buys to date will be integrated into Google services, giving users more information in search and other Google based programs.
Google VP Local, Maps and Location Services Marissa Mayer wrote on the company’s official blog:
“Moving forward, Zagat will be a cornerstone of our local offering—delighting people with their impressive array of reviews, ratings and insights, while enabling people everywhere to find extraordinary (and ordinary) experiences around the corner and around the world.”
With this newest maneuver Google not only receives a company that has embraced the location based space, taking on the likes of Foursquare, Yelp and Gowalla among others, but also a firm with 32 years of review experience which started as a printed guide to restaurants. read more
Geo-location based services such as Foursquare and Gowalla may be growing their active user bases but they aren’t exactly the most popular programs among Smartphone users.
According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, Foursquare and other location based applications are the least popular apps among smartphone users.
The survey asked 2,277 adults about their preferences when using their phones and more than half said they access social networks, send photos and view email, while only 12% of smartphone owners say checkin services are a regular part of their daily routine.
The study also found that checkin users are even less likely to share their location to Facebook and Twitter with just 9% of internet users and 14% of experience social media users posting their locations to social networks.
Here’s a look at how Smartphone users are utilizing their devices programs: read more
Foursquare has announced a new feature which allows users to check into major events, a task users typically fulfill by checking in at various locations and then typing a message so friends know why they are at those venues.
“It’s one of the most common checkins on Foursquare: you head off to a movie theater, check in, and type in ‘Harry Potter’ to tell people what you’re seeing. Or check in to a stadium and shout ‘Patriots game’ or ‘Lady Gaga concert.”
President Obama has joined the world of location based services, signing onto Foursquare this week.
After signing up for the popular check-in service the White House released the following statement:
“The White House is now on Foursquare, a location-based social networking website, which is the latest way for you to engage with the administration,” while adding, “There are over 10 million people already ‘checking in’ around the world, and now you’ll be able to discover ‘tips’ from the White House featuring the places President Obama has visited, what he did there, plus historical information and more.”
The President’s Foursquare account will be used to post his whereabouts as he tours the country for his economic bus tour, focusing on the Midwest at this time.
Along with the President’s location, various checkin locations for different presidential events are being created, while White House staffers have already posted their first tip on Monday, revealing that the President had delivered a speech in Cannon Falls, Minnesota where he talked about growing and strengthening the economy. read more