Attention Facebook: Foursquare is still going places
We checked in today with Foursquare, which has rolled out a new version of its social networking service that lets people check in on their smart phones everywhere they go.
In August, when Facebook, with more than half a billion users, launched its rival product Places, there was much talk of doom and gloom for Foursquare. Seven months later, Foursquare has more than doubled its number of users, to 7.5 million. It adds about 35,000 users each day.
"We are seeing 2 million check-ins per day," said co-founder Dennis Crowley.
So much for Facebook flatlining Foursquare.
"We are trying to do something different than what Facebook is trying to do. We are trying to change the way people experience the physical world so they will go out and actively explore more," Crowley said.
Foursquare is offering users a new way to discover places to go and things to do based on what you like, where you are and the kinds of places you typically check in. It's an "explore" button that acts like recommendations on Netflix or Amazon.com, he said.
"We are building technology that facilitates serendipity," Crowley said.
A new search function also lets you type in keywords to get suggestions on where to go. For example, a friend in Brooklyn with a flat tire typed that search term and found a nearby shop with a $10 discount when Foursquare users checked in.
Foursquare is also giving businesses a variety of deals and discounts they can use to win new customers or reward loyal customers.
And Foursquare has cranked up the game dynamics with a new leader board that gives you points for all kinds of activities such as trying a new restaurant or checking in with a group of friends.
Some people have been waiting for these new features for a long time. Crowley jokes that they have been on his to-do list for two years. After all, this is the natural evolution of Foursquare. Now the wait is over: The latest version of Foursquare will be available for iPhones and Android phones Wednesday. Was it worth it? Check it out and let us know.
-- Jessica Guynn