Wait, did Facebook just secretly stop using Foursquare's API for location services on Instagram and replace it with their mapping service?
— Guy Barnhart (@guybarnhart) March 18, 2014
Select users have noticed that when they tap on a photo to “Name this location,” Instagram now pulls its location information using Facebook Places’ database instead of from Foursquare. Instagram would not confirm this change, but noted that the company often tests out new services occasionally.
A spokesperson for Instagram indicated to Fast Company that it’s not uncommon for the service to trial new features. “We are constantly testing experiences throughout the app to provide the best possible user experience as part of future planning,” the representative said by email. The spokesperson added that “Foursquare is a great partner,” and that users “will continue to be able to share their check-ins to Foursquare from Instagram,” just as they can push Instagram content onto Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr.
Instagram is owned by Facebook and likely wants to keep this data out of the hands of a potential competitor. Users upload millions of photos each day from the places they visit, which collectively offers a wealth of information about which places are popular and when they are visited the most.
Companies recognize the value of this data, which is why they are lining up to negotiate a deal with locations services like Foursquare, Yelp and Gowalla. Microsoft recently inked a deal with Foursquare to provide location data to services like Bing and Windows-based mobile apps.
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