Instagram is testing integration with Facebook Places to add location data to users' photos, something that could be bad news for Foursquare.
The news was first reported by Fast Company. An Instagram spokesperson confirmed that the company was testing integration with Facebook Places, telling NBC News:
"Foursquare is a great partner, and people will continue to be able to share their check-ins to Foursquare from Instagram. We are constantly testing experiences throughout the app to provide the best possible user experience as part of future planning."
The $1 Billion Question
This could be “synergy” in action — or, in other words, why Facebook might have purchased Instagram for $1 billion in 2012.
That prompts the question, “Do Facebook and Instagram want to depend on Foursquare for location data?”
Plenty of other apps do, including Uber, Flickr and Vine. In fact, at last year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley said that 40,000 developers used Foursquare’s mobile API to provide them with location data.
The public face of Foursquare has not changed much since launching in 2009 (although recently it has emphasized discovering new locations instead of “checking in” with your friends). But there is no denying that its mobile API is a big part of its business.
Right now, only some Instagram users are noticing the switch, and tech companies often test out new features that never roll out to everyone.
Still, Facebook has 945 million active monthly users. Instagram has 150 million. It makes sense that they would want to build up their own alternative to Foursquare.