December 21, 2010

Foursquare Adds New Comment, Photo Features

Popular location-sharing service Foursquare is now letting users of smartphones upload photos using check-ins that will only be viewable by their friends using the service or other social networks with which their Foursquare data is shared, which include Facebook and Twitter.

Users will also be able to upload photos to go with tips about the location, or just photos of the location itself. Those types of uploads will be available for anyone using Foursquare to see and share.

Only a user's friends on Foursquare and friends of their friends will be able to view the comments, however.

Foursquare is among a growing list of startups that let users broadcast their location to their friends and strangers using a special phone application. Among them, Facebook is by far the biggest, which recently launched its Places app.

Foursquare's five-million-plus users check in with the site more than 1.5 million times every day. Users earn virtual badges once they have earned a certain number of check-in points or complete a task, such as riding a ferry. Users can become "mayors" if they check in at a certain location more than any other visitor.

The new features were launched in an updated app for Apple's iPhone on Monday, and Android-run smartphones will get the update next week. Users of RIM's BlackBerry will get the features in January.

Foursquare's head of product, Alex Rainert, told The Associated Press on Friday that new features should enhance how users interact with each other and perhaps inspire them to add more information about the places they are going and the things they are doing.

"Everything always ratchets back to building tools that change the way people experience the world around them," Rainert said.

Foursquare says it plans to add more features in the future, such as the ability to send posted photos on to Facebook and photo-sharing site Flickr.


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