Foursquare launched its "Save to Foursquare" and "Follow on Foursquare" buttons Wednesday in an effort by the New York company to get users to integrate what they do on the Web with what they do in the real world.
The Save to Foursquare button is aimed at online publishers and can enable publications to relate stories and reviews to places listed in the Foursquare app.
"For example, from a user perspective, if the L.A. Times were to use this feature, and I'm on the L.A. Times website and I'm reading a review of a new sushi place at LA Live, then I can click the Save to Foursquare button from the review online and that sushi place will be added to my to-do list on Foursquare," said Jonathan Crowley, who oversees Foursquare's partnerships with media companies. "And then when I'm in L.A. near LA Live and I'm looking at my to-do list, I'll see that sushi place on my list and the L.A. Times review would show up when I am looking at that sushi place in the app.
"So I could go back and read that review if I wanted to remember why it's on my list in the first place. And all of this would take place with the publisher's logo and branding."
As of now the L.A. Times isn't using the Save to Foursquare button, but Crowley's hypothetical example went into practice Wednesday with launch partners such as Frommer's Travel, Eater.com, New York Magazine, Time Out NY and Time Out NY Kids, Time Out Boston, Time Out Chicago, AskMen.com and CBS.
CBS' use of the Save to Foursquare button is something that Crowley said he is particularly excited about because it's a move many people wouldn't expect, he said.
"We wanted to bridge the gap between what you're reading and watching online, and what you go out and do in the real world," Crowley said. "A lot of people don't look at CBS as a local brand, but if you think about it, there are all of these markets out there that have local CBS stations and they're producing a ton of locally focused content, so it actually makes a lot of sense.
"The fact is that the best content creators, the places that know cities the best, are publications like newspapers and magazines and local TV stations. And now we can connect the work all of these publications are doing with what we're doing on Foursquare very easily. It's something we've been working on for a while now."
The Follow on Foursquare button enables anyone with a website to allow Foursquare users to follow that person or business on Foursquare with a simple click, similar to Twitter's follow button, he said.
"The Follow button is even easier to put on a website," Crowley said. "With the Save to Foursquare button, a publisher has to structure the location data of what they're writing about in a certain way. With the Follow button, it's as easy as copying code from our website over to your website. Anyone can do it."
When a person follows someone or something on Foursquare, they'll see that person's or brand's tips when they check in at a location and they'll see lists of things to do by who they follow as well, he said.
"It's all the same as when you've followed a person or a brand on Foursquare before, but now you can follow someone you see on the Web without having to take your phone out of your pocket and go looking for them," Crowley said.
The company also launched a redesigned developer website Wednesday that should make it easier for third-party apps to build on what Foursquare has built and has coming up.
"I think a lot of people look at us as a 'check-in service,' but it's so much more than that," Crowley said. "It's about exploring your city, having a travel guide when you're in a new city, getting brand or friend recommendations wherever you go -- and all of this just adds to that.
"We've got a very long product road map, and we're focused on building more of these types of tools that make it easier for people to explore what's going on around them."
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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Image: A screen shot of the Save to Foursquare button on NYMag.com. Credit: New York Magazine / Foursquare