Speaking at the Geo-Loco conference in San Francisco, the venture capitalist Fred Wilson said that Facebook will pose no threat to Foursquare, in which he is an investor, when the site leverages its massive user base to launch a location component. “Facebook is a photo-sharing site, really. Maybe with some chat attached to it,” Mr. Wilson was quoted as saying by Silicon Alley Insider.
Mr. Wilson’s remarks come several months after Facebook confirmed that they would soon be introducing a feature that will allow users to tell their friends where they are. The point of view Mr. Wilson was responding to is that Facebook, which now has more than half a billion users, will have a built-in advantage over Foursquare because its “social graph”– basically a map that charts a person’s connections to others– is so much bigger. A bigger social graph means a more useful location feature.
But Mr. Wilson wants you to know he is not cowed. “I don’t think the open graph is important,” he said. “Everybody’s got a social graph. Every large-scale web app has a social graph. I don’t think Facebook’s social graph is anything to be scared of.”
There are a number of arguments for why Foursquare can and will survive Facebook’s entry into geo-social networking, many of which were layed out in this post by social media consultant Daniel Luxemburg, who notes that while Facebook’s user base is indeed an incredible resource, everyone– including Foursquare– has access to its API and the Facebook Connect feature. “The more that ‘Facebook owns the social graph’ (i.e., the more social connections it maps), the easier it will be for new Foursquare users to discover people they know on the service,” Mr. Luxemburg writes, “making them a little bit more likely to give it a real try and perhaps end up sticking with it.”