Google Places is not Foursquare

jueves, 2 de junio de 2011 - Publicado por Manuel en 1:02
One of the strongest buzzwords in the digital environment is Solomo, Social, location and mobile apps. Well, one of the flagships pushing this trend is Foursquare, the geolocalized social network. For those of you who does not know what Foursquare is about, here is an smart video about it.

No doubt, Google also wanted to be there according to their evil plan to be in every field related with Internet. Google launched Google places for Android as an app, and as a mashup with Google maps for other users. Even if its sold as a similar option to Foursquare, there is a main difference. Google Places is not a social network. This point can be seen when you consider these two points.

In FS, the first thing to do after you sign up is to find your friends. To achieve this, FS kindly ask you to connect with your Facebook, Gmail,Twitter, and Yahoo accounts, and adds to your list those friends already using FS. Of course, after that step it asks you to invite all your friends to FS, saying that "the more friends, the funnier it gets". That process looks pretty similar to the one Facebook follows for new users (and established users btw).In Google Places on the other hand, after signing in, it offers you a map with a search bar.No connection with friends as a must.

One of the things that make FS so popular are the badges, that means, achievements obtained after checking in a concrete place. This leads to a feeling of satisfaction for the user, similar to finishing an stage in a videogame. And of course, those achievements could lead to the user going to a sponsored place instead of to its competitor store. Which is what every business is about, even a fancy one like this.More over, the connection with other applications provide FS users with a way to communicate their recent achievements, bringing more potential users to the network, and therefore to the places FS want them to go.  The personal profile in GP is poor, just with the number of reviews/ ratings you did. FS on the contrary, shows to the people how many badges you have, how many check ins you do per month, and so on. Healthy competition I would say.

So for the moment, GP act more as an aggregator for established review sites, like tripadvisor. Which is nice, but as a user, it´s more relevant an opinion/rating from a friend than how many stars unknown people give to a commerce. What FS did is to move rating business from crowdsourcing (reviews as an average of  all the users) to friendsourcing (reviews by friends).Maybe this is just an entry strategy for GP, to offer something different  FS is not delivering, and once it gets enough users, start offering more relevant, friend related reviews to the users. Will Foursquare survive?.