Location-based services (LBS) exploded into the news during the last couple of weeks in August with announcement after announcement of new services for location-enabled shopping and social networking. Three LBS shopping apps launched within days of each other: Shopkick, ShopAlerts and AisleBuyer. Each provides its own twist on customer-retailer interactions.
Location game provider SCVNGR, meanwhile, announced a partnership with AT&T for in-store rewards. But Facebook stole the show with the release of Facebook Places, its LBS social networking application that allows users to give real-time updates about where they are and what they’re doing.
Facebook is wearing long coattails with Places: Instead of competing directly with existing location check-in apps, the social network is partnering with them. In the process, Facebook is giving the relatively small startups responsible for the apps access to its massive user base, not to mention a visibility boost. Executives from Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp! and Booyah! took to the stage during the Places rollout to announce the integration of their services with Facebook via the Places API.