With the launch of Facebook Places last week, many people wondered how long foursquare would survive. It seems that so far, at least, Facebook Places (and a New York Times article) is having a positive impact on foursquare’s numbers. CEO Dennis Crowley just tweeted that each of the past four days has seen a new record number of signups for the service. They’ll be crossing three million users sometime in the next few days.
On Friday’s episode of the Gilmore Gang, Crowley fielded a question about Google, but his response was obviously directed at Facebook, as well, saying they needed to be “generic” to appeal to such a huge user base. “Part of what you see on Foursquare, which is the game mechanics and the snarkiness and really more importantly like the fun and the playfulness that we build into the product, because I think thatâ€™s the stuff that most people relate to,” he said. “And you can poo-poo how like those touchy-feely things donâ€™t mean too much to users but I really think thatâ€™s the core and kind of the soul of the service and people identify with that.”
Facebook Places has faced a barrage of criticism since it launched on Wednesday, especially over the “feature” that allows users to tag their friends when they visit a location without the friends’ approval. Unintentional privacy gaffes will almost certainly follow when a Places tag catches someone in a little white lie â€“ or worse.
Users have also been critical of Facebook’s insistence on pushing every checkin into their friends’ news feeds, no matter how trivial the location. There are no foursquare-style options for checking in off the grid or not sharing with Facebook and Twitter.
Foursquare isn’t standing down in the face of the Places onslaught. They’ve promised that a new version of the iPhone app is coming within two weeks that will rework “the way the tips and the to-dos work, because thatâ€™s going to be core of the system.” Gowalla-like photo sharing is also said to be coming soon, along with “Points 2.0.”
The foursquare v. Facebook fight is still in the opening round, so don’t count scrappy foursquare out yet, they’ve still got a lot of fight left in the tank.