Last night Facebook announced it's entry into location based services and the giant offered foursquare and Gowalla a chance to sing the praises of "Places" and it's api. There had been a lot of speculation of late that Facebook may have been in the market to acquire one of these smaller players or that their entry would simply squash them out of existence. The move, at least on the surface, of making places an open api for the smaller companies to hang their code onto is either an olive branch or perhaps a trial balloon. In any event it will be interesting to see how this plays out and if being a feeder for Facebook (they will consume data driven from foursquare and Gowalla but not offer anything in the other direction) helps to accelerate the growth of these services. If the later is true, I hope they can keep up with the Facebook affect!