Welcome to the latest turf-war in social networking. Enter: geolocation, a technology that allows users to “check-in” at their favorite locations to share tips and tap into special offers. Foursquare has become the hottest startup in this new field — to the point that some are already calling it the next Twitter. Part of Foursquare’s appeal involves turning a “check-in” into a competitive game in which users battle for mayorship and special badges. Clearly Foursquare has tapped into something powerful, as it has more achieved than 500,000 users and 1.4 million venues in its first year alone.
But not so fast… what if Facebook enters the race and gets geolocation right? Imagine doing location “check-ins” with all your friends that you are already connected to on Facebook. Odds are the vast majority of these Facebook connections are your real friends, not just other random Foursquare users. And that’s why Facebook has already won the battle. Unlike Twitter, where you may be interested in following people you don’t know well, your circle of close friends on Facebook and the people with whom you’d probably like to share your location are one and the same. If Facebook really wanted to, it could probably even look at people you’re commonly tagged alongside in photos to help suggest who to include on your list of ‘location’ friends.
So it looks like it’s coming soon, but we still don’t know the direction Facebook is going to take. Our bet, just for the record? Facebook’s upcoming addition will make Foursquare nothing but a distant memory.