Sources are reporting that Yahoo is in talks to purchase location-sharing service Foursquare for $100 million. A source within Yahoo has said only that they've " had discussions" with Foursquare. Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley has spent the last few days meeting with companies including Apple and Facebook, but it's Yahoo that has been pegged as the most interested.
Yahoo has had a tough time as of late with their search business faltering and a botched Microsoft acquisition. Buying Foursquare would be a quick and easy way to get in on the location-based services game. Even with the offer of quick cash, Foursquare may not sell. Crowley has previously stated he only sold his last startup to Google because he was unable to get funding.
Yahoo missed out on purchasing Facebook in 2007, if given the opportunity to buy their way into social media again, it's unlikely they'd turn it down. Yahoo's official word is, you guessed it, " We don’t comment on rumor or speculation."
The mood might be a little glum at the Foursquare and Gowalla offices today. Facebook is said to be readying new location sharing features for the popular social networking site. The launch is expected in late April. The user agreement on Facebook was updated in November to include language about the privacy of user location updates. The company also indicated that any location sharing features they might roll out (wink, wink) would be an opt-in service.
Early indications are that the location tools will come in two flavors. First, there will be an integrated ability to share your location via status updates. Secondly, Facebook will create and API for app developers to use to add location awareness to their apps. Advertisers would place high value on locations data for even a fraction of Facebook’s 400 million users.
The usefulness and possible consequences of this feature are still unknown. We hope Facebook will tread softly, having learned their lesson from past mistakes (coughBEACONcough). Though, what about app developers? We all know some apps can be on the shady side. Are you comfortable sharing your exact location with developers?
Listen up, Windows 7 aficionados: This one's for you. You've no doubt noticed your operating system's lack of location-based functionality. Unlike Apple's competing OSX, which can triangulate your system's position based on the geographical locations of nearby WiFi hotspots, you can't really... well. You can't do any of that on Microsoft's platform. While you might not need to know exactly where your desktop is (hint: your dwelling), it would sure be nice to have this feature for a more mobile system.
And that's not even in the, "I'm lost in the wilderness and I see a bear help" sense. Wouldn't it be great to automatically have the weather displayed for your current location on your Windows sidebar? If you use Twitter (and yes, readers, I realize you hate Twitter), you could just as easily pull up a listing of messages centered around your particular location: "I just ate a great meal here," or "@bear2 There is a silly human wandering around here; I will eat him," et cetera.
Well, Microsoft hasn't come to your rescue on this one--a third-party developer has created an free application that allows you tap into the wonders of geolocation all by your lonesome. Go fetch your laptop from the other room, then click the jump!
Do you think mobile location-sharing service Foursquare is pretty cool, but you live out in the suburbs? If you answered that with a resounding ‘yes’, it’s your lucky day because Foursquare is now playable anywhere. Users can now user their mobile phones to “check-in” no matter where they are. Previously, the service was limited to a few dozen metropolitan areas.
There are currently official applications for iPhone, Android, and WebOS, with a Blackberry app in the works. Increased adoption of these apps will be key to helping Foursquare fend off challenges from Gowalla, Brightkite, and Loopt. Gowalla’s game-like interface is the closest to Foursquare, and they are rumored to have a big pile of venture capital money they can bring to bear.
Most existing users of Foursquare won’t notice much of a difference. The service will now use a given radius to determine which friends’ check-ins to show you; it previously just used the Foursquare supported metro area. Special badges will still exist for specific cities, but the general ones will be available everywhere. Have you used Foursquare? Does it best the competition?
Had things gone perfectly to plan, Twitter would have launched geolocation support for developers today at the Twitter Conference in LA, but apparently there are still some bugs to be worked out. But while it's not quite ready for prime time, Ryan Sarver, Twitter's platform lead, had a few updates for attendees.
According to Sarver, Twitter will soon be able to store location data, such as latitude and longitude coordinates, on a per-tweet basis. For those concerned with privacy, location information will be opt-in only and will require a visit to the settings page (it won't be enabled by default). Somewhat surprisingly, users won't see the new feature on the Twitter website when geolocation goes live other than on the settings page.
Also on the privacy front, Twitter will scrub geo-data stored in tweets more than 14 days old, which Sarver says will avoid subpoenas about a user's location. Location data will be deleted outright from Twitter's database, and not just anonymized.
Sarver had plenty more to say on the microblogging service's geolocation update, which you can read here.
The first beta of Firefox 3.1 has arrived after being delayed by about a month. This beta release introduces the ability to switch between tabs using the Ctrl-Tab combination (3d tab switching). The tab-switching feature has been available in form of an extension till now.
Users can also drag and drop tabs between different Firefox windows. The beta release also has geolocation capability – currently available as an add-on - built into it. Geolocation allows users to interact with the web based on their geographic location.
The inbuilt geolocation feature in Firefox 3.1 and Geode – the geolocation extension - are slightly dissimilar. The difference lies in the fact that the former offers users a choice between GPS-based tracking and WiFi-based tracking, whereas Geode only counts on WiFi for tracking the location of a user.