Facebook going for Foursquare's heart with new Places features

Foursquare may have been a willing participant in Facebook's initial announcement on its Places application, but the social networking site's latest announcement likely further drives a wedge between the two once friendly companies. Facebook unveiled Deals on Wednesday, a feature which allows retailers to list special offers for those checking in.

Such a feature had become a staple for Foursquare, and helped the service gain a foothold among consumers. Facebook's move to add the functionality seems to suggest that the company is serious about Places and not just as a secondary feature.

Deals would be available to Places users through its iPhone application and mobile website (touch.facebook.com) beginning today. 22 partners have signed on initially, including The Gap and the Palms Hotel. Some would even offer free items to users checking in: the first 10,000 checking in at The Gap get a free pair of jeans for example.


Facebook says the "deals" given could be discounts, free items, pledges to donate to charity, or other rewards: all a user needs to do to unlock these items is to check in.

"We launched Places to let you share where you are with your friends and see who's nearby," Facebook's local marketing chief Jon Fougner said. "Now with Deals, you also can see what offers are nearby and share those deals with your friends."

The site also launched Places for the first time on the Android platform as part of Wednesday's announcements. It was not clear however at what stage of development Facebook's application for Windows Phone 7 was, although CEO Mark Zuckerberg described a "horizontal strategy" for development across all mobile platforms.

Don't expect an iPad specific application from Facebook anytime soon though -- Zuckerberg said that the company considers it a computing platform and not a mobile one, despite what Apple may wish the industry to think.

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