Facebook buys provider of user-generated travel guides

The company, called NextStop, will close its site on Sept. 1, but people can export its content in the meantime

Facebook has acquired NextStop, a two-year-old startup that lets people create and share travel guides and recommendations with others looking for things to do in places they're not familiar with.

NextStop's staff will join Facebook, which also bought "most" of the company's assets, according to an announcement NextStop posted on its home page.

Facebook confirmed the deal, describing it in an e-mail as "a small talent acquisition" driven by Facebook's admiration of NextStop's engineering efforts.

In its statement, Facebook didn't say what it plans to do with the NextStop technology and content. Facebook, like many other consumer Internet companies, is increasingly interested in location-based services and features to help users discover people, places and events based on where they are at any particular time.

As of Sept. 1 of this year, NextStop will shut down its site, but in the interim it's providing ways and tools for its users to export their content.

"Our aim is make it possible for other products -- whether they already exist or are yet to be created -- to harness the collective knowledge of the nextstop community, which includes information on nearly 100,000 recommendations for places around the world," the NextStop announcement reads.

NextStop will not share its users' personal information with Facebook. It will make the NextStop content available to "the Internet community" through a Creative Commons license, so that it can be "easily" incorporated into other products, according to an FAQ posted on its site.

"We're licensing the content under a Creative Commons CC-BY license in a format suitable for easy importing. This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon nextstop content as long as they credit you for the original creation," reads the FAQ.

Users can opt out of having their content made available in this way by writing to NextStop and requesting that it be excluded.

Web publishers using NextStop widgets on their sites should remove them before Sept. 1, when they'll stop working. The NextStop mobile version is no longer available.

After the site shuts down, NextStop users will still be able to meet at the company's Facebook Page, which will remain open.

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Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
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