Foursquare co-founder says Facebook Places is "boring"

Oh no he didn’t! The co-founder of location-sharing service Foursquare has called a new Facebook feature threatening to make his company irrelevant, a “boring” and “unexciting” competition.

Dennis Crowley has come away very unimpressed with the new service on Facebook that allows users to “check-in” whenever they go somewhere like a restaurant or store. Friends can then see where everyone is at any given time.

Launched last week, Facebook Places is a direct if not blatantly obvious competition to Foursquare, a new company that has risen to stardom because of its quick and easy way of sharing location data with other users. Crowley, the co-founder of Foursquare, is now lashing out against its new competitor saying there’s nothing inspiring about Facebook Places.

“The only interesting thing about Places is that it has a potential audience of over 500 million people around the world,” said Crowley in an interview with the UK’s Telegraph, also noting “it’s not that great or interesting” and “it’s a pretty boring service with barely any incentives for users to keep coming back.”

In a similar style to Foursquare, Facebook Place is available from mobile phones. Clicking on the “check-in” button taps into location data embedded on the phone, and then it brings up a list of nearby establishments for users to choose from. It then notes that as the user’s current location and broadcasts the info for everyone to see.

Foursquare has a bit of a game element to its location-sharing service, incentivizing users to keep going back to a location to become its “mayor.” “People [need] incentives to keep checking-in and sharing their location,” said Crowley. “Facebook could copy our games ideas, but we are working on a raft of new mechanics which we hope will keep Foursquare fresh and ‘check-in fatigue’ away.”

Crowley says Facebook Places is an important step in gaining awareness for location-sharing services, but he believes that it will cause people to try out other services like Foursquare, and in the end it will be good news for his company. Other skeptics say Facebook’s stranglehold on the social networking market will mean Foursquare could easily become irrelevant as quickly as it became extremely popular.