Facebook Places Deals tries to edge Foursquare out of Europe

Facebook is expanding its location-based service, Places Deals, to five countries in Europe, setting up some major competition for the likes of Foursquare and Groupon.

The the big five Zuckerberg’s gang is targeting are: the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy. Others will have to wait a bit longer before the service is available for them.

Two names that will be offering deals through the European service at launch are Starbucks and telecommunications operator O2, but this list is likely to expand rapidly over the coming weeks and months.

Foursquare already has a large presence in Europe, as does Groupon. In fact, they service many more European countries than Facebook is today – but the hybrid model and Facebook’s dominance as the social networking medium of choice for most means the new European service could really give rivals a run for their money.

Foursquare has previously claimed that Facebook Places was “boring” and not a threat, but when we look at the figures involved it paints a different picture. According to Bloomberg, around 200 million of Facebook’s half a billion members use Places Deals, suggesting that it is doing reasonably well. The fact that it was previously only available in the US means that this figure is likely to jump with the move into Europe.

Facebook claims that its service is very different to that of group buying website Groupon, because the location-aware element means that deals are offered based on the current location of the shopper.