Facebook Buys NextStop, Shutting Down Site and API

NextStop was building a new kind of city guide and giving away all the content. Now its team joins Facebook, a company as famed for being closed as for being one of the largest sites around. The NextStop site, and its API (our NextStop API profile), will close September 1.

ReadWriteWeb expects a big impact from NextStop at Facebook:

The suspense keeps building around Facebook's location feature. I know my expectations have probably grown unrealistic by now - it had better be super awesome, when it finally arrives. The addition of the NextStop team may help it be just that.

We wrote about NextStop in November. It's always sad to mark an API as discontinued in our directory. It's arguably sadder to see one languish unsupported. In that sense, perhaps it's best that Facebook and NextStop made it clear that the service as we know it now will not continue on.

It's not the end for NextStop's content--city guides and restaurant reviews. The company intends to continue making the data available, but not as an API, as announced along with the acquisition:

In the next few weeks we will be releasing the nextstop database of places and recommendations under a Creative Commons license in a format suitable for easy importing.

To some, data is even better than an API, as we discussed recently with InfoChimps. However, the content would need to be used to seed a similar effort, as otherwise it will become stale. Another potential use of NextStop's large dataset is as the basis for an open places database, a need driven by the many location-sharing services, each with its own list of venues.

Be sure to read the next Mapping article: Marketers Discover APIs, Thanks to FourSquare