Last month, Foursquare made a pretty significant update to both the check-in screen and location pages on their iOS and Android apps. The update brought large, swipable photos front and center, added relevant info like hours, rating, and more to location pages.
When users check-in, they're now being presented with a new screen as well. Users may be given some interesting stats about that particular check-in, like "63 check-ins with the same friend" or "X check-ins at BLANK in the last 60 days."
One new "stat" that AboutFoursquare noticed popping up recently involves badges. Foursquare, once notoriously secretive about their badges and badge requirements, is now letting users know exactly when they are about to reach a new level on an expertise badge.
Expertise badges first launched in 2011 as a way to get users involved in checking-in at multiple locations in the same category. Let's take the "Bento" badge, which is for sushi restaurant check-ins. Upon checking-in to 5 different sushi places, you'll earn Bento level 1. Five more (different) places, you'll earn Bento level 2. This is the way that every expertise badge works (and there are dozens of them).
Now, when you check-in, Foursquare may let you know how many more check-ins you need to reach the next level.
"You're X new BLANKS away from unlocking BLANK badge - Level 3!" it might read.
A minor tweak to the Foursquare app, but one that's telling of the direction of the company. Foursquare once guarded the secrets of their badges, as they wanted them to be an organic part of the experience. That's still probably true, but since Foursquare is now focusing on becoming a true local search option, it may seem silly to be so stingy on the badge info. Plus, progress reports like this could promote more check-ins.