Posted January 13, 2012 4:51 pm by with 0 comments

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Whether you’re looking for a new place to have lunch or planning a trip to Paris, Foursquare has you covered with their new desktop app.

Foursquare explore is a supersized version of the explore engine in their smartphone app. It’s designed to help you find places to eat, visit and play that suit your needs and interests.

What’s truly unique about it, is the apps ability to respond to random words, not just specific names or high-level categories. You can search for a “pizza” place in the neighborhood or you can search for “deep dish pizza” and get only those restaurants that make it that way. You can also search words like “romantic,” “fun,” and “weekend,” for more of an eclectic mix.

If you’re a frequent Foursquare user, your results will be more personalized. You can also filter the lists by places you’ve been, haven’t been, places my friends have been or Foursquare specials.

For anyone who is into exploring all a city has to offer, this new desktop app is an excellent way to find those out of the way places you may have missed. For business owners, the app offers more opportunities to rise to the top because the data can be sliced and diced in so many ways.

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The downside is the current data source. The app scans checkins and comments in order to pull the results. In a few of my test cases, the majority of the results were dated more than a year ago. In the restaurant world, that’s a long time and just because a place served Kobe burgers back in 2010, doesn’t mean they serve them now.

I searched Chocolate and Tobacco Barn came up because someone they have a machine that serves hot chocolate.

Foursquare says their results are drawn from “1,500,000,000 check-ins, tens of millions of Tips, and over half million Lists.” Maybe so, but they’re still at the mercy of what people write in the comment box. Garbage in, garbage out.

Concept wise, it’s a good idea. Plenty of people will use it to find a place to meet for lunch or dinner. Foursquare is hoping you’ll use it to plan your trips.