Contact: Jarrett Streebin
After years of building up its platform organically, Facebook has been acquiring like mad this year. The Palo Alto, California-based startup has just purchased its fourth company since January, up from only one in 2009. The latest acquisition is nextstop, a user-generated travel recommendation site. Like earlier buys this year, this one is about adding features to the Facebook platform.
Location features are something Facebook has been promising for some time but has yet to deliver. The sheer growth of sites like Foursquare, Gowalla and SCVNGR has demonstrated widespread demand for location-based services and networks. Twitteradded location features through its Mixer Labs acquisition and Google already has a service called Latitude, in addition to having invested in SCVNGR, a network similar to Foursquare. Facebook has also recognized the attraction of such offerings. It’s rumored that it recently had talks with Foursquare about an acquisition.
However, what check-in-based sites like Foursquare and Gowalla lack is user-generated content. People can interact but there is no way for users to write reviews about locations they visit. It’s likely that with nextstop, Facebook will incorporate user reviews into its forthcoming location offering. Not only will users be able to see where their friends are, they will be able to read what they wrote about places. With these features, Facebook’s location offering will represent the next wave in location. That’s if it ever arrives. We’ll be looking at moves by Facebook and other key technology buyers as well as our outlook for dealmaking in the second half of the year in our midyear webinar on Thursday. Click here to register.