Facebook announced this afternoon that they’ve agreed to purchase Instagram for a cool $1 billion. Why is that noteworthy to foursquare fans? Instagram is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, application making use of foursquare’s API.
All the location information on Instagram comes from the foursquare API and foursquare users who’ve tied their accounts together can post their photos directly to foursquare (along with Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc.). Instagram has a reach larger than foursquare’s (~30 million compared to foursquare’s 20 million), which has helped to spread knowledge of foursquare and publish a great deal of content back to foursquare in the form of photos.
It’s no secret that foursquare and Facebook aren’t the best of friends, so it would be surprising if Facebook allowed Instagram to continue using foursquare’s place data instead of their own. As Juston Payne pointed out on DVWLR, one of Facebook’s prime objectives in purchasing Instagram is likely the immense amount of data its users create â€” and a lot of it is tied to location. At this point there’s little to no correlation between foursquare’s place database and Facebook’s, so that data would be useless to them.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg addressed Instagram’s links to other social networks in his announcement post:
We think the fact that Instagram is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience. We plan on keeping features like the ability to post to other social networks, the ability to not share your Instagrams on Facebook if you want, and the ability to have followers and follow people separately from your friends on Facebook.
That statement in itself seems to indicate Facebook would have no problem with Instagram continuing to push to foursquare, but if Instagram drops foursquare’s venue database (which seems highly likely), that process would become much more difficult, if not impossible.
Only time will tell what effect Facebook’s purchase will have on Instagram, but it is hard to see how it could have anything but a negative long-term effect on foursquare.
What do you think of Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram? Will it have a negative effect on foursquare in the long term?