Last month, Foursquare launched a brand new homepage that they said "reinvents local search." Possible hyperbole aside, the new Foursquare.com opened up the service to everyone - regardless of whether you are a member of the Foursquare community. Foursquare currently sits on billions of check-ins and millions of tips from their signed-up users, and they finally made all of that "personalized" info available to everyone.
The message was loud and clear: You don't have be a fan of "checking-in" in order to use our service. And the goal, obviously, is to make Foursquare a serious competitor to services like Yelp and Urbanspoon in the local search arena.
But that redesign was only available on foursquare.com. Until now, that is.
Today the company announced that Blackberry users can now downloaded the Foursquare app and use the "Explore" fucntion without signing up. That means that Foursquare has a new mobile presence in local search that doesn't require being a member of the service. Foursquare says that BlackBerry is the "first" to get this feature, which hints that the logged-out explore service could be coming to other platforms in the future.
Foursquare has said the phrase "moving beyond the check-in" so many times in the past couple of years that I've lost count - but they are following through and taking steps in that direction. With this move, the company wants to utilize its tons of location data to craft a local search and recommendation engine to compete with Yelp, Google Places, and other similar services. By letting non-members explore their database, Foursquare positions itself as a double threat - local search engine and social network.