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Foursquare Reinvents Itself as a Discovery Engine



I suppose if I spent much of my life traveling to new places, I’d be excited by an app that easily allows me to tell people where I am. But I don’t, so I wasn’t and after a brief dalliance, I cut Foursquare out of my life.

Today, I’m reconsidering renewing our relationship because Foursquare says it’s changed and this time it’s not just playing games, it’s going to be helpful.

The new Foursquare, to use their own words, is prettier and includes a snazzy new Explore. Check-ins are still encouraged but the emphasis is now on discovering new places to visit relative to where you are right now.

Since it is first and foremost, a social app, it opens to your friends page with a quick look at the latest activity.

When you bump over to Explore, you get a curated list of top picks that are close to you. Foursquare says the list is customized based on your previous data, so it’s not “one-size-fits all.”

For frequent travelers, Foursquare says the app knows if you’ve been to an area before and will customize the results based on that criteria as well. Pretty nifty.

If you want to explore an area you’re going to visit later (or to do research for your murder mystery), tap the map, move to a new location then search. The results aren’t as clean, but they’re there.

This new Foursquare is smart. It goes from game to tool, and I mean that in a good way.

The folks at Foursquare deserve high praise for this revamp and not just because it functions better. They get kudos for following their users instead of forcing their users to follow them. They could have said, this is what we are, get over it. Instead, they looked at how folks were using their app then took a bold step in a new direction.

Social media and mobile are still evolving, the winners will be those companies who leap in, monitor the results then adjust quickly, even if it means a huge overhaul.

Foursquare, you’ve convinced me that you’ve changed, really changed. I’ll take you back. Now, could you empty the dishwasher for me, and there’s laundry that needs to come out of the dryer.