Foursquare’s Future: Predictive Check-Ins, Recommendations

Foursquare should be excited about its current success in the check-in sphere. Not only did they recently surpass 8 million users, but 4sq day on April 16th was an enormous hit, shattering records for check-ins on a single day and creating tremendous buzz by having major cities declare the day official.

Speaking at the Girls in Tech event in San Francisco, CEO Dennis Crowley talked about the future of Foursquare, and what he sees on the horizon for improving the way people check-in.

Foursquare is not he speediest of all mobile apps, and Crowley knows this. I, for one, have just given up on a particular check-in because the app was taking so long to find my location. Crowley doesn’t want this to happen and has said that speed improvements are going to be a big focus in the upcoming quarter. He described the current check-in methods as “clunky and heavy,” saying “it took me 20 seconds to check in here…it should have taken 5.”

What does Crowley imagine can improve the way users check-in? Predictive check-ins that are more passive than active is what he hinted. In the future, users may be notified that they should check-in to places that they have been before. Crowley wants Foursquare to help check people in, rather than hoping a user has the impetus to do it themselves. Because, let’s face it, sometimes people forget to check-in.

In a strange bit of inspiration, Crowley draws on the much maligned Microsoft experiment “Clippy” to explain what he envisions for the future of Foursquare:

“I think we can make a version of Clippy that’s not a pain in the ass, but lives in your pocket and he knows who your friends are, who you hang out with. He knows the places you like, he knows you go to sushi three times a week. Maybe he even has access to your calendar. He knows which direction you’re walking. He knows the time of day. He knows you get coffee in the morning. He knows if you’re walking fast or slow. He’s listening to what’s going on… Clippy is the master of the network sensor.”

What does Foursquare not want to do in the upcoming months? “Some things Foursquare doesn’t want to do,” Crowley said to All Things Digital, “are enable mobile payments, help users check into TV shows, and create content. Everything on Foursquare should involve actions tied to space by latitude and longitude.”

Sounds cool. I would like Foursquare to suggest places to go, tell me where my friends are and remind me to check-in. How does Crowley’s future plan for Foursquare sound to you? Tell us what you think.

Dennis Crowley CEO of Foursquare at Girls In Tech from Daniel R. Odio on Vimeo.

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