I write this with no intent of spreading any rumors or sensationalizing the situation. There is nothing indicating that the two companies are in talks about an acquisition, but from the sound of it, Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley is not ruling it out.
Laura Goode at All Things Digital interviewed Crowley. On the possibility of an acquisition, she quotes Crowley as saying, “I wouldn’t disqualify anything. The thing that’s important to us is doing the things we want to do, which could be partnering with someone, or it could be continuing to grow the product independently.”
That is not exactly saying, “No, we’re not for sale.” For that matter, it doesn't mean that Google, would be the winner of an acquisition, if in fact Foursquare is for sale. However, the interview is largely about Crowley's relationship with Google, and how he has been talking with Googlers, including business development Googlers.
Here are some things to consider.
Facebook, with whom Google has a growing rivalry with, just acquired Gowalla, which has typically been thought of as the closest competitor to Foursquare, or at least was in the early days before the tech giants started offering check-ins.
Crowley’s pre-Foursquare project Dodgeball was acquired by Google, though it ended up falling apart and getting shut down. Foursquare, however, has already proven to be a success, and Google has enough products now that it could help it even more. Think Google Offers, Google Wallet, Google+, and even Android (not to mention a pending acquisition of Motorola Mobility). Google has gotten a lot more social and a lot more mobile since the Dodgeball days.
Crowley’s relationship with Google has reportedly been a bit rocky at times in the past, but as indicated in his interview with Goode, it is quite improved. In fact, as we reported back in March from SXSW, Crowley said that Google would be a great partner if the timing was right.
Actually, since then, Google Places started importing Foursquare data.
So, to be clear, I’m not saying an acquisition is inevitable, but it doesn’t seem out of the question. I’d be surprised if at the very least, we don’t see continued integrations of Foursquare and Google Products.
Note: Image at the top is actually Crowley playing Foursquare at SXSW.