Foursquare Fans Find Freshened Feel For Favorite Followings
June 7, 2012

Foursquare Fans Find Freshened Feel For Favorite Followings

A fresh, streamlined interface was rolled out for Foursquare today with fewer buttons than older versions but with increased functionality based on feedback from its millions of users, says Alex Rainert, head of product at Foursquare.

The redesign simplifies the interface by slimming down to only three buttons across the bottom for Friends, Explore, and your profile. The updated Friends tab lets you view a feed of latest activity from your friends with big photographs; allows comments and the ability to “Like” any activity, as well as check out tips and lists that are near your current location.

The Explore button now gives you ideas of where to go automatically based on whether you´re at home or traveling with the best results for where you are presently, reports Jason Parker for CNET. Foursquare Labs is able to make suggestions not only based on friends and people with similar interests; it can narrow it down to the best results for the time of day, by using data from millions of check ins, Rainert explains.

The Profile tab received an overhaul as well, adding more information you can view about your history with Foursquare. You can now look at a history of your check-ins, Friends, badges you´ve earned, comments and tips you´ve left at various locations, and your lists.

The Check In button itself has moved to the upper right of the interface, a design choice Rainert says will make it easier to touch with your thumb.

Foursquare is aware of the short attention span of mobile app users and how difficult it can be for start-ups to sustain their early momentum and chart a course to mass-market success in such a rapidly changing industry.

“The nature of this game is that there is another idea or technology around the corner,” said Susan Etlinger, an analyst at the Altimeter Group who advises companies on how best to use technology. “Companies capture the public imagination. They become the center of attention. But it is very difficult to continue to offer an intriguing and valuable enough service for people.”

The DNA of Foursquare will not change in the new version, but the focus is shifting to an “explore” button that gives users suggestions on where to go, based on information like the time of day, the popularity of nearby places and past check-ins, writes Jenna Wortham for the NY Times.

At its core, Foursquare lets people share their locations with friends, along with a game-type element such as points being awarded for “checking in” at a new restaurant.

Since 2009, more than two billion pieces of data have been collected about where its 20 million users like to go and when. Foursquare can use that data to offer insights about particular venues, like letting a user know if a favorite restaurant seems less busy than usual, and therefore more appealing for dinner that night.

“People still think about us in terms of points and badges, which still works as a way to bring on new users,” said Dennis Crowley, chief executive and one of the founders said. “But the bigger point is to take the rich data we have about how people interact with their location and turn it into recommendations. This is our first stab at what we think you´ll find interesting.”