Google, Bing Maps Surface Location for Facebook Places
Lost in the gloss of Facebook's Places announcement and its impact on Foursquare and Gowalla is that Microsoft Bing is providing the mapping technology for the social network giant's location service on Facebook.com.
Yet Bing still stands to lose valuable traffic from Facebook Places to search king Google because Google Maps provides the mapping technology for Places on the popular Facebook for iPhone application.
Launched Aug. 18 in the United States, Facebook Places lets users "check in" to a location via a smartphone to share their locations with Facebook friends.
Places will tell those users if their friends are nearby, showing their locations on a digital map.
That map will be provided by Bing when users access Places through Facebook.com, as Chris Pendleton, Bing Maps technical evangelist for Microsoft, showed in his blog:
"So, fire up the Facebook for iPhone application or touch.facebook.com site on your mobile device. Select the Places button, find the location where you are and check in. Just like that, the check-in will flow to your profile on Facebook.com complete with a Bing Map, a pin of your location and any commentary you've added to your check-in."
However, many Facebook users will access Places through Facebook's application for the iPhone, on which Google Maps is the default mapping technology, according to TechFlash (via LiveSide.net).
That is traffic Bing Maps may sorely miss. Pendleton responded to the TechFlash story with some technical clarifications:
"Bing Maps is the map provider for Facebook Places on Facebook.com. Facebook is using the native Apple iPhone map kit within the SDK [software development kit,] which fetches Google Maps for check-ins. Note, this is an Apple API that proxies to Google Maps and not a Google Maps API."
This isn't going to dash Bing's hopes for success, as Bing Maps offers some of the most cutting-edge technology in the market.
It does illustrate the degree to which Google's Web-service tendrils have wrapped themselves around leading desktop PCs, laptops and smartphones.
This is best exemplified by Google's grasp on search.
There was speculation all year that Bing could replace Google as the default search for not only the iPhone but also Apple's new iPad tablet computer. That never happened.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs endorsed Google search for both products at the D8 conference, showing that the two companies maintain a healthy business relationship even as they try to eat each other's mobile Web dinner.
Meanwhile, Microsoft must continue to chip away at Google's search and Web services lead any way it can.