Rumored Twitter-Foursquare partnership shows Yik Yak is a threat

Twitter is reportedly teaming up with Foursquare to power location-based tweets, according to Business Insider.  Location features are key to Twitter’s product roadmap, because the company believes such contextual information will make the service more useful for people.

But there’s lots of product changes that would make Twitter more useful to people, particularly new user onboarding tools. So why is Twitter focusing on location-based tweeting, arguably a departure from its core service, now?

It may have to do with new competitor Yik Yak. Yik Yak spread virally through colleges with a product that’s similar to Twitter, except your feed is composed of posts from people near your location. The app has had a stunning rise through the charts, and just raised $62 million in new funding from Sequoia (the main backer of WhatsApp). Although it’s frequently grouped in with the Secrets and Whispers of the world, Yik Yak sees Twitter as its big competitor. With Twitter now taking geolocation so seriously, it appears the feeling is mutual.

BI didn’t get the scoop on what, exactly, the Foursquare-enabled Twitter feature would look like, but sources told the publication we could see it as early as the first quarter of 2015.

We can look to Twitter’s recent Analyst Call for some idea. During that time, Twitter showcased a wide array of preview products — ones it was planning but hadn’t finished building. Location-based tweet organization was one such feature.

In the slides Twitter showed, people could navigate to micro tweet areas, seeing all the tweets coming out of, say, Grand Central Terminal or Olive Garden, Times Square. Yik Yak’s Peek Anywhere tool is similar, although it’s based on pin dropping, as you can see below:

Twitter's location curated timelines

Twitter’s location curated timelines


Screenshots of Yik Yak's location based post tool

Screenshots of Yik Yak’s location based post tool

It was hard to tell from the Analyst Call, where a ton of product previews were dumped, how much Twitter was prioritizing this feature. But if it’s working alongside Foursquare to introduce it as early as January – March 2015, it’s clear this matters. It will be one of the biggest changes to Twitter’s product since its inception. And if users adopt it, it could pose significant problems for Yik Yak.




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Five Location-Based Apps for the iPhone

With the iPhone OS 3.0 announcement that Apple’s (s aapl) new iPhone software update will include Google (s goog) Maps integration, you can expect an explosion of location-based apps to start appearing in the App Store. There are already a few location-based apps available now, including ones we’ve written about before — Job Compass and Locly, for instance. Here are five more that are worth a look.

uSonar (Free)

usonarThere are lots of apps available that let you keep up with your social networks while you’re on the go, but what about when you’re bored and want to find someone local to hang with? uSonar lets you know who’s around and what they’re up to, whether they are someone you already know or not. Members post “blips” about their activities and locations, then you can message them directly through your iPhone or iPod touch. Everything about uSonar is opt-in, so you’re in control of who can see where you are, or send you a message or email. You can even post anonymously if you’d like. Read More about Five Location-Based Apps for the iPhone