November 6, 2012
Foursquare Adds New Functionality And Scores To iOS App
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Foursquare, the social network that knows where you are, has been watching you for some time, and now wants to make a few suggestions.With the latest update to their iOS app, users can ask the app to make a recommendation for places such as restaurants to visit in the area. The app taps into information its users have been giving it for years as well as scanning your check-in history before making its suggestion. This new addition to the Explore section of the app will also explain why it picked a particular place (the example given on the Foursquare blog explains: “This place is on a lot of to-do lists”) as well as display a 1-10 rating on the establishment.
“Instead of other sites where every place gets 3.5 stars, we come up with our scores using the same Foursquare magic that powers Explore,” explains Foursquare in their company blog. The “3.5 stars” comment is, of course, a thinly veiled dig at Yelp, a competitor of Foursquare.
“We look at signals like tips, likes, dislikes, popularity, loyalty, local expertise, and nearly 3 billion check-ins from over 25 million people worldwide. And, with every check-in and Explore search, our scores will get smarter and better.”
When opened, the Explorer section of the app will make suggestions based on your location and separates them into different categories, such as “A new spot in the neighborhood,” “This place is popular on Foursquare,” or even “There´s a special here!”
Tapping one of the recommendations calls up a host of information, such as a map showing the distance between you and the recommended establishment, the rating of the establishment (where applicable) and pictures other users have taken at this particular place. Users can also leave a tip for others, read the comments left by prior visitors, and even look up the website, Twitter account, and other information about the establishment.
The app also explains why it picked this place for you, such as the number of check-ins to this establishment, how many positive reviews, etc.
Foursquare has also recently expanded the size of this pool of data for Explore by opening it up for anyone to use on the web. As a sort of rival against Google search, anyone who goes to Foursquare.com can type in what kind of place they´re looking for. Just as with the latest iOS update, Foursquare online allows users to pick places you have or haven´t been to before, as well as places your friends have already been to or places that are currently trending.
By opening up this functionality on the web, Foursquare has given itself more information with which to make these recommendations.
Foursquare has also set themselves up different enough from Yelp in that they make their recommendations based on more than a 1-4 star rating, ratings which can be easily taken advantage of.
Like most algorithms and computational services, more information means better results, and if Foursquare is able to continue bringing in users either through their smartphone apps or the web, the service could become a useful tool for many more.