Facebook Gets Patent For Foursquare Innovation

Trouble seems to be on the horizon with news of a fresh patent grant to Facebook leaking across the blogosphere. The bone of contention seems to be the patent itself, “Systems and methods for automatically locating web-based social networking members”, which is the technology behind Facebook’s newly launched Facebook Places. The problem is the software was already created years ago and is being used on Foursquare, whose founder Dennis Crowley is widely credited as having invented it.

Now if you thought the patent was a mouthful, have a go at the official explanation of how it’s supposed to work:

“The status information manually provided by the first user on an input module of the mobile device; associating the location information with the status information of the first user in a database; and sending the status information and the location information of the first user to a second user for display.”

Simply put, Facebook Places allows you to keep your friends and homies updated on where you are. On the other hand, Foursquare puts a fresh spin on this (and has been putting a fresh spin for almost two years now) by enticing users with challenges and rewards.

What has got observers, journalists and social networking fiends a tad worried is what it could all boil down to. This early and there’s already speculation that Facebook might use its ownership of the patent to elbow and strong arm the competition, all of whom are more or less small fry. As of this writing, there have been no official statements from either Foursquare or Facebook regarding the issue.

However, to borrow one journalist’s mash up, they could just merge and form Facesquare.

Via: Techcrunch