Foursquare has been busy refreshing its app and moving beyond check-ins. The latest update adds recommendations from your Facebook friends based on their Foursquare activity (in order to see check-in data, you will still have to mutually be Foursquare friends).
Tips your friends have written, photos they’ve taken, and venues they’ve liked are some of the updates that you’ll see accompanying recommended venues in the “Explorer” tab. Behind the scenes, what Foursquare is doing with the update is using your Facebook friends’ data – check-ins, tips, photos, likes – to refine your recommendations based on your their interests.
As always, despite this deeper integration with Facebook, all of your check-ins needs to be approved by you before being published to Facebook.
Foursquare’s strategy takes venue discovery arguably a step ahead of Yelp, although Yelp doesn’t seem to be concerned. The long-time restaurant reviews and listings site has kept steadfast and reliant on its existing network of Yelpers to act as the authoritative voice for places to go and foods to eat. When you step back and compare Yelp with Foursquare, the two apps have completely different ways of solving the same problem. Yelp opts for its elite Yelp squad of “expert” foodies, while Foursquare has hedged its bet on your friends’ tastes to guide you to your next meal.
Outside platforms are taking more and more notice of Foursquare’s social data. Evernote has baked the product into its revamped Food app to power venue recommendation, and Apple is making moves to integrate Foursquare into its maps service (which for the record, also currently uses Yelp).
Foursquare still has a long way to climb to gain the consumer confidence Yelp has. After basing its service around check-ins, the pivot to turn into a recommendation platform will be a challenge.
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