WASHINGTON - The location-based social network Foursquare unveiled its new local search and recommendation service Wednesday after splitting off its app enabling friends to keep track of each other.
The "all-new Foursquare" debuts as a personalized tool that learns about users' tastes and interests through their smartphone habits.
"Our phones should learn about us - our tastes, our social connections, and our preferences," said a Foursquare blog post.
"If you love vintage clothing, it should tell you that there is a hidden gem nearby. If you're in a new city, it should tell you that your friend Katy highly recommends this hole-in-the-wall restaurant downtown. If you crave spicy food, it should advise which dishes you should order when you sit down for dinner." The new app "frees you from having to read long, random reviews, wondering if those people share your tastes" and instead can "find things based on your tastes, the places you like, and the friends and experts you trust most." Earlier this year, Foursquare said it was splitting into two separate apps, creating "Swarm" to allow users to more easily track and meet friends.
Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures, a Foursquare investor, said on his blog that the split came out of a need for "two separate privacy models." "While you probably want every Foursquare user to see your tips and recommendations, you definitely don't want them to all know where you are," he wrote.
Wilson said users were confused by the original Foursquare and that "Most Foursquare users don't want to check in" at a specific location.
Greg Sterling at Opus Research said the new Foursquare may have advantages over services like Yelp and Google for local recommendations.
"Foursquare has taken all the data it has amassed over the past five years to generate individualized recommendations nearby or for other specific locations you select," Sterling said.
"When you open the new Foursquare there's considerable personalization going on in the background based on other variables such as those you follow, your check-in history and your movements in the world. Foursquare is creating a profile of your tastes based in part on where you go." Foursquare, which claims some 50 million users worldwide and over six billion location "check-ins," created Swarm earlier this year for its users who want to keep track of the location of friends.
"You can use Swarm to keep up and meet up with friends, and continue using Foursquare to discover great new places," the company said.