There comes a time in the evolution of every tech company where things just need a refresh. For Foursquare, that time is now. Last month the company branched its core app into two separate offerings, with the friends-hanging-out portion taking the name of Swarm. Now the mainline app's refresh has arrived, and it's all about delivering personalized recommendations. Think more Yelp and less Twitter.
The new Foursquare wants you to find places, food, and things that turn you on.
This is 2014. We may not have flying cars, hoverboards, or self-drying jackets, but dammit, we can find new and lazier ways to eat good food. Take GrubHub (and its BFF Seamless) for example: a centralized repository of restaurants that will be more than happy to bring you food in the middle of an 8-hour League of Legends binge. Today the combined company is teaming up with Foursquare, so you don't even have to visit their website to get your grub on.
If you told me that you'd never heard of Foursquare, I'd call you a liar. We've all see the cross-posts from Foursquare on Twitter and Facebook. I'd find it hard to believe that you had gone your entire life without seeing Foursquare notifications, but if you told me you didn't know what Foursquare was for, that I could believe. Foursquare, at its heart, is a fairly straightforward location-based game.
You've got to respect the American Red Cross: they're just a bunch of people who love to help people. As a recipient of their assistance through multiple emergencies (hey forest fires, you suck) I've been delighted to see their variousdisasterapps pop up on the Play Store. But their latest tops them all: Team Read Cross gives you a ton of information on volunteer opportunities in your area, then "gamifies" the act of completing them, sort of like a Foursquare that actually encourages you to do meaningful stuff.
Foursquare is a neat way to keep your friends appraised of your location and activities, as is the custom in this day and age. With the help of Samsung, you can now see all your Foursquare check-ins through a living timeline called Time Machine. Even if you don't have a Foursquare account, check out the demo. It's really cool.
Time Machine is an aerial view of your check-ins laid out chronologically.
Foursquare received a significant update today, adding new features like nearby friends and places on the home screen map, and a "Best Nearby" button that allows you to see highly rated locations in your general vicinity. Here's the full changelog:
We’ve made some big changes, making it easier to quickly find the best stuff nearby: ✓ Explore is at the top of the home screen so you can quickly find whatever you’re craving.
Believe it or don't, Fourquare has grown beyond hipster urbanites who desperately want to be the Mayor of the 6th Street Starbucks. More than a few businesses - independent or otherwise - are seeing the value in the location-based service. To that end, Foursquare has released its free business app on the Play Store, allowing local managers to update their business status for single or multiple locations.
Within the Foursquare for Business app, you can keep tabs on recent check-ins, set specials for users, and look up in-depth statistics for your business's performance on Foursquare.
Like most services, Foursquare has long had a developer API that allows users to plug Foursquare data into other apps. Now that idea is evolving with Foursquare's new Connected App Platform. With Connected Apps, developers can build their app or service into Foursquare - essentially, apps will run within Foursquare to enable new kinds of user experiences.
Ignore that those are iOS screens - the service will be cross-platform. The new APIs are just a developer preview right now, but already Foursquare has worked with its various partners to get the ball rolling.
Foursquare's mobile app hit the big five-point-oh today, with a brand new overhaul that's so comprehensive, the What's New section on the Play Store gave up and said "Go check it out for yourself!" The app has gotten a whole new ICS-styled look, which just looks fantastic. In addition, the app has revamped the "Explore" tab that allows you to see what's around you, encouraging more discovery, instead of mindlessly checking in whenever you happen to go to Starbucks.
Foursquare may be the king of the check-in game (they're boasting over 7 million users and over 500 million check-ins last year), but that won't keep them resting on their laurels. Launching tonight on the Android Market, Foursquare 3.0 will introduce several notable changes that could fundamentally alter how the service is used.
Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley explains that, because of the effort put into scaling the service for such a wide increase in users, they haven't been able to innovate and improve it as much as they hoped.