Foursquare recently announced "Explore", their new web-based tool that takes geosocial and local search to a new level. Check out these enticing perks that come along with the new features.
Beyond mobile check-ins for badges and mayorship battles, Foursquare Explore now leverages this data in a useful fashion as a web-based personalized search engine.
Consider for a moment that you're looking for a local place to visit for shopping, dining, nightlife, or recreation... What thoughts come to mind?
- Where have or haven't I been before?
- What places are popular?
- What places would my friends or colleagues suggest?
- What places have deals or specials?
- What does the place look like?
- What should I try when I get there?
Regardless of if we're searching online, we all contemplate some of these questions. Channeling this thought process into a tool seems to be a brilliant idea. Behold, Foursquare Explore is here!
The process is simple:
- Login or create an account at Foursquare.com
- If you just created an account, add friends from Twitter, Gmail, Facebook, or Yahoo Mail.
- Click Explore to begin your local search:
Results can be filtered by related check-in data and the interactive map allows you to easily zoom and drag the map accordingly. The iconography for location types helps to visually spot places you may be seeking.
Top 10 Reasons to Check Out "Foursquare Explore"
- Flexibility - From your smartphone, tablet, or web browser, searching can easily be done by keyword or category and then be filtered to personalize results by location.
- Specificity - Specific searches for things like "tiramisu" and "wine list", adjectives like "romantic" and "delicious", or time-significant keywords like "Friday" or "summer" work great because tips and lists are indexed.
- Retained Privacy - Even if you don't personally like to do mobile check-ins, you can benefit from your friends' check-ins, tips, and lists along with 1.5 billion more from the Foursquare community.
- Outing Ideas - Easily "save" places to visit later if you come across enticing tips or specials, and mark them "done" to remove them from your list.
- Money Savings - Current local "coupons" and deals are easy to find! Just filter results by places that "have Foursquare specials."
- Popularity - Displayed check-in counts help to identify hot spot destinations you'll likely enjoy. If there's a high number of unique check-ins by friends, that could also indicate a higher chance of bumping into a friend at the destination.
- Travel Tips - Search for places proximate to any worldwide location, and Foursquare will suggest personalized "top picks" based on check-ins in your home town.
- Adventures - Confidently find and try out new places that you "haven't been to yet" by scanning tips from places your "friends have been to" or by using Browse Categories > Top Picks for popular results.
- Recovered Memories - Perhaps you checked into a place you visited outside of town two years ago, but you can't remember the name. If you roughly remember the location, you can search by places you "have been to" and easily be able to find it again.
- Friendships - Grow relationships by learning what places you may unexpectedly have in common with your Foursquare acquaintances and friends.
Geosocial SEO Action List
If you have a public location you want users visit, consider planning a strategy to acquire visits from Foursquare Explore.
- Create or claim your Foursquare location if you haven't already.
- Regularly review check-in comments and tips to see what users are saying. (Scan for sentiments, adjectives, or long-tail specific query opportunities.)
- Define a strategy to get more check-ins, photos and tips.
- Use a QR code at entries for check-ins or exits for encouraging tip submission. (Be sure to follow QR conversion best practices.)
- Identify photo opportunity areas and promote them with Foursquare ads. (i.e. menus, check-out counters, waiting areas, etc.)
- Mention being featured in cool Foursquare lists as social proof and inspiration for others to list you.
- Include sentiments, adjectives, and other targeted Foursquare SEO keywords with your ads, especially on-site! (Quality check-in comments can work great as testimonials.)
What Do You Think?
A local search tool that includes personalized tips from friends, visit history for you and your friends, and current coupons/specials definitely presents more value than merely earning a badge or mayorship.
Although Foursquare has been known for their mobile app, do you think this new utility will help evolve them into a mainstream application? Please share your thoughts in the comments. If you're tempted to check out Foursquare Explore be sure to share this post!Register now for SES London 2012, the Leading Search & Social Marketing Event, taking place 20-24 February, 2012. SES Conference & Expo features presentations and panel discussions that cover all aspects of search engine-related promotion. Hurry, early bird rate expires February 3!
OK, so you%u2019re a Foursquare user and you%u2019re the %u201CMayor of Starbucks%u201D in Hackensack%u2026 Whatever!
Maybe you use Gowalla and you%u2019ve just traded a virtual %u2018kettle%u2019 for a virtual %u2018bowl of noodles%u2019 at the Sewage Farm in Cleckheaton%u2026 Who cares?
Wouldn%u2019t it be more fun searching for some real treasure? Geocaching could be the answer.
Location-based mobile games are hot right now. Foursquare, Gowalla and others encourage you to %u201Ccheck in%u201D at various locations using smartphone apps in order to earn points or trade tokens.
However, when the novelty of wearing imaginary Foursquare mayoral chains whilst ordering your skinny latte wears off, what are you going to do? When you%u2019re really hungry, but those virtual noodles from Gowalla fail to satisfy your appetite, where do you look?
Wouldn%u2019t it be great if you could search the world around you looking for real hidden artefacts? With Geocaching you can do just that. It%u2019d be cool if Foursquare, Gowalla or one of the other location games could build this in to their apps.
Like, Foursquare, Gowalla and the current crop of location based games, it%u2019s all about being mobile and making the most of the GPS in your phone or Sat Nav device to find hidden items. The difference is, these items are for real%u2026 and they%u2019re all around you!
Geocaching is a global phenomena that%u2019s been steadily gaining popularity since its launch in 2000. In almost ten years, over 3 million participants have hidden and searched for almost a million items around the globe. What%u2019s more, they%u2019re all waiting to be found%u2026 by you.
Even better, if you%u2019re an iPhone user, there%u2019s an app from Geocaching.com, the largest GPS cache hunt site, to make it even easier. Using the app you can search for hidden treasures near to your current position and navigate towards them.
When you get to %u2018ground zero%u2019 you hunt around for the hidden %u2018cache%u2019 which can be anything from the size of a coin to a sandwich box. If you find it, sign the paper log inside it and there may also be a few items inside to trade with other geocaching fans.
Using the app or the Geocaching website, you can provide updates regarding your find before moving onto the next one. What the app and the site currently lack is any integration with social networks, which might be just the thing a Foursquare or a Gowalla could introduce to the equation.
In the meantime, there%u2019s a health warning that goes with geocaching. People have been questioned by the police for snooping around suspiciously looking for hidden booty, so if you%u2019re interested in geocaching, read up on the do%u2019s and don%u2019ts on geocaching.com or the wiki, before getting started.
A leading innovator in the IT Outsourcing industry, Tim is often on the move but can be regularly found in Manchester and London, UK. His focus is on social and mobile technologies but given half a chance he'll try to sneak music or football into his blog-posts. Tim can be found at One Greener Day and you can also follow @timdifford on Twitter.
is a company with all of four employees. Yes, they just hired their fourth, we’ve learned (hello, Nathan Folkman
, formerly of Betaworks
, where he worked on Bit.ly
). And yes, that’s a fitting number. You might think that a company that recently closed some funding would ramp up hiring a little faster, but the truth is that they don’t have to. Why? Because their users are already doing quite a bit of work to expand and improve the service.
You see, some users of Foursquare that are very active earn the label “Superuser.” These are users with privileges that allow them to edit certain aspects of the site, which I’ll get into below. Full disclosure: I’m one of them, but only because I use the service so often. But I’m also only a “Superuser! – Level 1.” Today, the service started upgrading a very select group of users to the new “Superuser! – Level 2″ distinction. In total, less than 1% (0.7% to be exact) of Foursquare’s user base received that distinction.
The plan is to eventually have three levels of Superusers, but right now, there are only these two, Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley
tells us. Level 1 users are able to edit venues (including names and cross streets), mark places as “closed,” and note duplicates. These new Level 2 users are able to merge venues themselves when there are duplicates. Eventually, Level 3 is likely to contain elements such as adding badges (rewards you get for certain check-in patterns), and policing other users, Crowley says.
But the Superuser functionality is more than just for show, or a small game within the game. It’s actually helping Foursquare in a meaningful way. Shortly after the group of users got upgraded to Level 2 today, Crowley noted that, “we had some 2000+ duplicate venues in the system 30 mins ago. We’re [now] down to 400.” He followed up shortly after that noting, “it took less than 2 hours for users to go thru 90% of our merge queue.”
Those are some very impressive results, and suggest that Foursquare has a community that may be able to self-police itself like Wikipedia does. If that’s the case, the company can focus less on hiring people do to the tedious stuff, and more time building new features and expanding to new cities.
Speaking of that, there’s a pretty nifty one in Las Vegas this week if you happen to be there: If you’re over 21, stop by the Planet Hollywood Hotel for a free shot at Koi Restaurant. You simply need to check in there to get it.
more about why foursquare is poised for greatness. I wrote about foursquare yesterday http://btrandolph.com/2009/10/foursquare-com-how-soon-is-now/
Dorsey’s investment with Foursquare is personal and not on behalf of Twitter, but his involvement with both companies might raise some questions as Twitter enters the geolocation arena themselves with the upcoming launch of their location APIs.
seems like foursquare is getting pretty darn close to some kind of tipping point...