Everything is prettier, including a snazzy new Explore. To help you better share your adventures with your friends, we increased the number of check-ins they can see.
That's the message that greets you when you open Foursquare after downloading today's update. Foursquare does indeed look different from the last time you saw it, and I must say that they are right - it is prettier. But the beauty of the app is not really what the folks at Foursquare are focused on. Out of the gate you can tell that it's all about Explore, Explore, Explore. What was once a mildly useful feature on the app is now front and center, and it contains a trove of information on you past check-ins, your friends' check-ins, tips, specials, and more.
It's clear that Foursquare wants to be your go-to place for not just checking-in, but discovering where to go and what to do.
First, you'll notice that the "Friends" tab has been turned into a legitimate "news feed" of sorts. It has an all new look and feel, and includes much more information and options to interact with your friends' check-ins than before.
All of the information now contained in the one feed was accessible before, but some of it took a little bit of digging. Now, the feed includes check-ins, tips, comments, as well as a new heart icon that allows users to "like" (or "love," I guess) their friends' check-ins. Photos associated with check-ins are now much larger and more prominent on the page, and the feed also shows additional information like who your friends just became friends with.
The Explore tab has been completely retooled to include all of that past data that Foursquare has mined from the millions of check-ins available to them. Scrolling from the top, Explore notifies you of nearby specials, followed by other interesting suggestions for places to go like "It's been more than a year since you've been here," and "some of your friends have been here."
Of course, every recommendation comes complete with a list of your friends who have checked-in there as well as tips from them and the foursquare community at large. Everything is still based on location - I had to scroll pretty far for the new Explore to recommend a place outside of 2.5 miles away.
The Explore tab now sports a "Top Picks" button that allows you to browse popular venues in your current area. You can target your search by choosing a specific category like "Food," "Nightlife," "Shopping," or "Sights." Again, these suggestion rely heavily on you and your friends' past check-in data. It will be interesting to see how well the new Explore tab directs you when you're in an unfamiliar city.
The "Me" tab has also went through a redesign, but it still sports your basic info regarding friends, stats, photos, tips, badges, mayorships, and lists. One new addition to the mobile app is accessibility to your entire check-in history, which was previously only available on the web.
Foursquare says that we can expect more additions to the app in the near future:
This isn’t just a fresh coat of paint, it’s a whole new app. And, as such, it’s just the beginning. We’ve got lots more coming in the weeks ahead, and expect even more this summer. Our little team has been working hard to build an app that helps people make the most of where they are, and we’re so excited that you can finally play with it.
The All New Foursquare app looks great, and if the new Explore feature ends up truly providing better recommendations, then Foursquare may have just taken a serious step forward in terms of market dominance. There are plenty of location recommendation apps out there (most notably Yelp), but Foursquare holds a unique advantage - recommendations based on their giant database of you and your friends' check-in information and tips. Foursquare has long wanted to move "beyond the check-in," and this update puts them firmly on that path.