Instagram reportedly testing location integration with Facebook Places

By , Mar 25, 2014

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Facebook-owned Instagram has traditionally relied on Foursquare for its vast database of points of interest.

For example, upon uploading a photograph Instagram gives you an option of choosing a location where the image was taken using its Foursquare integration, simply by tapping a ‘Name This Location’ button.

Post acquisition, however, things have become a little weird.

Facebook has long been maintaining its own location database, Facebook Places. Two years into the acquisition, Instagram has now started using Facebook Places as its mapping service, at least for a subset of its users.

Despite this (expected) change, more than the 150 million Instagram fans can continue to share their check-ins to Foursquare from Instagram…

FastCompany first reported that Instagram has updated its app for a subset of its users so that it now uses Facebook’s Places’ database instead of Foursquare’s. For Facebook, the stakes are high as the company may have grown reluctant to share Instagram’s data with Foursquare, a potential competitor.

The publication explains:

Instagram boasts more than 150 million users, who collectively upload tens of millions of photos each day. When these photos are tied to a location, they paint a comprehensive portrait of a venue and even reveal when that venue is most popular.

If tons of Instagram photos are taken at Zazie in San Francisco on Saturday mornings, it’s safe to surmise that the restaurant is a hot brunch spot on weekends (thanks in part to its pancakes, judging by the Instagram photos tied to its location).

An Instagram spokesperson told FastCompany that “users will continue to be able to share their check-ins to Foursquare from Instagram.”

Facebook Places (screenshot 002)

“Foursquare is a great partner,” he added.

It should be noted that even though Instagram is currently testing Facebook Places integration, there are really no guarantees that Zuck & Co. will actually switch from Foursquare to using Facebook’s location database.

Facebook Places (screenshot 001)

Frankly speaking, no one can touch Foursquare when it comes to its rich, crowd-sourced location database of restaurants, bars, and other places, refined over the years with billions of check-ins.

The quality of its database has made Foursquare a hot commodity among technology companies: popular services from Silicon Valley titans such as Microsoft, Uber, Pinterest, Path, Twitter’s Vine and Yahoo’s Flickr all integrate with Foursquare for location-related information.

Foursquare will soon sign up its 50 millionth user.

Instagram boasts 150 million active users.

Forsquare’s excellent iPhone app is available free in the App Store.

Instagram for iPhone is also a free download.

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