The new foursquare shifts focus from check-ins to decisions


Today foursquare released the latest versions of its mobile app and website completely refocusing the “check-in” platform into a full-fledged decision engine.

With a focus on content and interaction, and less on specific venues, this new iteration of foursquare further merges the mobile social web and the tangible world around us.

What’s new in this version?

Let’s dive in.

Like and Dislikes

The hot or not feature has finally come to foursquare.

For years foursquare has showcased popular locations based on check-in volume and pop up tips from your friends. With the addition of the Like, foursquare aims to bring a larger audience connected on the platform.

In your activity feed on the website, you’ll see when friends like a page, and can hover on the name for a quick popup synopsis of the restaurant breakdown (including which of your friends like it).

Redesigned profile page

The foursquare user profile gets a serious makeover in version 5.

With six boxes showcasing your friends, stats, photos, tips, badges, and lists, there is a huge emphasis here on creating a more personal foursquare experience for you and your friends.

Like and Save Venue Tips to your Lists

The Like button has become commonplace across the foursquare experience. Aside from liking a venue, you can also Like other users’ tips and even save them to your to-do lists for later.

Think about when you ask a friend for a recommendation on where to go, they don’t ever just give you a venue name.

They tell you about the food, or the ambience, or the fact that you should ask for Brynn because she pours the drinks a little stiffer than most. Those value-added recommendations are now available anytime in your pocket on your list thanks for foursquare.

“People talk about”

This is another new feature that pulls a snapshot of some of the more popular and common sentiments about each venue. I pulled up a SXSW favorite, the Salt Lick. You can see below it pulls out some interesting tidbits from recurring tips.

Improved maps

With a highly publicized switch from Google Maps to OpenStreetMaps we knew the new mapping functionalities of foursquare were about to get an upgrade. In the new update, foursquare has added a map to the “Explore” tab of the application, as well as adding the explore feature to the website.

Taking a look at the homepage map (added in the last major homepage redesign) we now have a distinct separation of locations with specials and without, shown below as blue and orange icons (perhaps an homage to Dennis Crowley’s alma mater Syracuse University!)

Increased integration with Facebook

foursquare has taken Facebook’s API and fully integrated it into the foursquare experience, bringing in foursquare specific action verbs to the Facebook timeline. If you start noticing on your timeline you’ll begin to see verbs like “Nick left a tip at On Ideas” or “Nick liked Winn-Dixie”

What’s missing?

The ability to sort friends by proximity.

This is pretty annoying because as much as I love all my friends in NYC, SF, and Syracuse, I’m really more concerned with the people checking in in my immediate vicinity. Also, if you’re going to show me check-ins all over the world, let me search all over the world as well.

The shout feature.

There’s an option to check-in but no more option just to shout. Not really a huge deal; the shout feature always seemed out of place. With new like buttons all over the site and the ability to mentions others in comments, there are a number of new touch points for personalized interactions.

The word “check-in” from the App’s Home Screen.

The word check-in has been moved one screen in from the actual button to the title of the venue selection page. The action to check-in is now represented by the generic “blip icon” button in the top right corner of the app.

How can you take advantage of these new features for your company?

  1. Claim your venue on foursquare if you haven’t already.
  2. Make sure your venue’s information is completely filled out including the category of business.
  3. Encourage your customers to Like you on foursquare in addition to just checking in and leaving tips
  4. Start running specials! The clear visual distinction will allow your business to stand out with a special on the large real-estate that is the foursquare homepage map.


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