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Instagram moves to replace Foursquare integration with Facebook Places

We’re just surprised it took this long.


Kate Knibbs


Instagram fans have noticed something new when they tag locations in their photos. For a subset of users, the usual Foursquare database isn’t popping up to show nearby restaurants and bars. Instead, the little-used Facebook Places database appears.

That’s because Instagram is testing out how replacing Foursquare with its Facebook Places will work.

Facebook Places hasn’t exactly been a marquee feature for the social network. Its original iteration was killed off because no one used it. Still, Facebook isn’t exactly a slouch when it comes to location-tagging; it has allowed users to identify their location in photos and photo albums for years. It’s just not as widely used for real-time location checks (my account still lists one of my recent locations as Seoul, and I haven’t been there in three years.)

While losing Instagram’s patronage wouldn’t be good for Foursquare, it wouldn’t be a fatal blow. Even though the location-sharing app’s days as a trendy check-in tool are over, the company made the wise choice to shift into providing data services to a variety of third-party apps. Instagram is a big one, but companies like Uber, Pinterest, Vine, Microsoft, and Flickr all use its free API integration and venue database. 

Facebook benefits by keeping its location-tagging service native instead of bringing a third-party and competitor into the mix. As long as Facebook Places is up to the task and users don’t start complaining about sub-par location-tagging, it seems inevitable that Instagram will swap out Foursquare in favor of the location app from its parent company.

H/T Fast Company | illustration by Jason Reed


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