With Foursquare Out of the Picture, Facebook Buys Nextstop

Facebook has acquired Nextstop, a user-generated travel recommendation site founded by former Google product managers that launched a year ago. This comes after Facebook’s publicized non-consummated deal to buy Foursquare, another location startup (though not a direct competitor) that’s has much more uptake.

The Nextstop buy is more of an acquhire for the startup’s location-savvy team than anything else. Nexstop will be shutting down its site Sept. 1 of this year and releasing its database of places and some 100,000 recommendations via Creative Commons for others to use.

The Nextstop founders had previously led Google’s Calendar and Picasa teams — and they will join many former Googlers at Facebook, including those like Facebook CTO Bret Taylor who came in through Facebook’s FriendFeed acquisition. As far as we know, Nextstop had been bootstrapped to date.

Nextstop co-founder Carl Sjogreen (he’s the Google Calendar guy) told us last year that Nextstop’s goal was to be “a Wikipedia of all the great places in the world.” The company had designed social incentives for user participation and put extensive work into things like a reputation system to give good users more contribution powers. They wrote in an FAQ about the Facebook acquisition,

This was a difficult decision for us. We felt like nextstop had a great future, and recently released some major updates in response to user feedback over the past few months. In the end, however, we decided that pursuing our mission to help people discover the world around them was something that could be done with greater impact and scale as a part of Facebook.

Facebook’s location strategy is a hotly anticipated unknown. The company has given repeated vague answers about what it will do to help connect its users to places in the real world.

Besides FriendFeed, Facebook’s other acquisitions include Divvyshot, Octazen and Parakey, all of which were primarily based on engineering talent and domain expertise.

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