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Foursquare is now checked in to where you're going

June 07, 2012|By Michelle Maltais
  • Foursquare has transformed itself from a playful geolocation log into an intuitive Yelp-style guide.
Foursquare has transformed itself from a playful geolocation log into… (Foursquare )

In a major rethinking of the app, Foursquare has been reborn as more than a way to become mayor of that coffee shop you can't get enough of. It's now about helping you decide your destination. Ultimately, Foursquare has transformed itself from a playful geolocation log into an intuitive Yelp-style guide.

"We took all the things we've learned at Foursquare ... took the whole thing apart and tried to put it back together," Andrew Hogue, Foursquare's head of search, told The Times in an interview.

And you can imagine that in three years with more than 20 million users providing more than 2 billion pieces of data, Foursquare has learned a lot -- about where people and their friends go at what time of day on what days of the week. That's actually powerful information when applied to predicting user patterns.

The core of the app -- checking in and the game-like elements associated with that -- hasn't changed. Now, though, the "explore" tab aims to offer intuitive suggestions concerning destinations nearby, based on your history, your current location, your friends' locations and the time of day.

In other words, if you haven't yet checked in for lunch and it's lunchtime, Foursquare will suggest somewhere to get a bite nearby. And it will highlight nearby specials offered through the app.

"You don't even need to type in a query," Hogue said. But you still can if you'd like.

The other change is that the stream of information you get in the "friend" tab has been broadened. Now, in addition to seeing where your friends in Foursquare have checked in, you can swipe through their posted photos, tips, lists and save locations. You can also weigh in with a "like" or comment on their activity.

"The whole Foursquare experience funnels into these two tabs," Hogue said about the "explore" and "friend" tabs.

And for those who still dig checking in, the button is now closer to your thumb placement, on the top right, making a bit easier. And on the back end, things have been sped up, Hogue said. 

The redesign update is available now for iPhone iOS, Android and the website. The BlackBerry app will roll out in the next couple of weeks, Hogue said.

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