Location Based Services are all the rage these days. The space is still being defined and the players are trying to differentiate their service offerings in order to attract the critical mass of developers. In this post I’ll draw a side-by-side comparison of the main features provided by the major Places API providers today. While I have no hard numbers to back-up the “major provider” claim, I’ll simply go for the web companies I would look for when building an application around Location services.
Here are my candidates ordered by their first API release date:
|Provider||Name||API Link||First Released|
|Yahoo||Yahoo GeoPlanet API||Yahoo! GeoPlanet™||May 2009|
|Foursquare||Foursquare API||Foursquare APIv2||Nov. 2009|
|Twitter Places API||Geo methods in Twitter API||Jun. 2010|
|Facebook Places API||Scattered under the Graph API||Aug. 2010|
|Google Places API||Google Places API||Nov. 2010|
The features of all these APIs are designed primarily to support (and promote) the business use cases of each respective competitor. One notable exception is Yahoo’s GeoPlanet API which advertises itself as being a general purpose API for referencing places.
I won’t try to identify any “best” API in the end. This post is meant to allow the reader to make an informed decision on which API(s) to use.