In an attempt to keep on fighting the fight for local, Foursquare is asking users to rank images based on how well they show off the respective vendor. You will now see user submitted images when logging into the desktop app and a prompt asking which “Better represents this place.”
The feature, according to AboutFoursquare, first appeared silently earlier this month but it was hidden in the photo gallery, so few users may have noticed that it existed in the first place. Today the feature is prominent as Foursquare solicits users to exercise their best judgment to pick out the better of the two photos.
If you browse to the profile page of a venue, two photos are displayed in a module below the map of the venue. You can click on the photo among the two that better fits with the place its supposed to represent, or you can elect to click on “Neither photo is good” at the very bottom of the module.
If you click on “See all # photos” you’ll be taken to a photos page where you’ll find all photos in a grid format. The top right corner under the number of photos that the venue has amassed is a link to “Rank these photos.” Clicking on it opens up a light box that features two photos at a time and encourages users to select the best of the two, flag it as inappropriate, or shoot down both images.
By asking users to choose the better of two photos, Foursquare can find out whether its users prefer a well-lit area verses a darkly lit venue; an image of the venue’s exterior or interior; the lighting and angle of food shots, among other factors. It’s possible that Foursquare could use this user input to create an algorithm that will analyze and determine which photos to display along with locations. It’s not easy, but it’s possible to figure out the content and colors in a photo based on every single pixel, similar to how Curalate’s own photo detecting algorithm works.
Foursquare has been aggressively challenging Yelp’s hold over local review and rating content – it very much wants to be more than just a check-in app. It’s kept busy implementing features like social recommendations as well, to keep the community element alive and well. This latest update could be part of a push to make the app more visual, and it’s also likely an attempt to make sure there are accurate photos to accompany listings. For the moment, this feature is only available via the desktop app.