With 3.5 Billion Check-Ins, Foursquare Revolutionizes The Way We Explore Cities

Have you ever been out of town and you wanted to stop for “____” but you had no clue where to go? Feel free to fill in that blank with anything you want – coffee, dinner, entertainment, whatever your momentary desire. How do you choose where to go?

One option is searching through lists online, although that can take too much time and often it’s hard to find trusted recommendations and ratings. Another possibility is to randomly choose a place, although we’ve all had a bad experiences with this method. What you really want is a quick and easy way to find the best “____” in the area. You’d also like recommendations from real people, who actually visit the business, so you can enjoy the best of what the town has to offer.

If this sounds like you, it’s time to check out Foursquare.

Foursquare was launched in 2009 as an app for people to easily tell their friends where they were hanging out. Using the GPS on your smartphone, the app is able to pinpoint your location. You then make a “check-in” announcement, telling friends where you are. However, as more and more people began to check-in at their favorite locations, Foursquare expanded from its original design. With 3.5 billion check-ins within four years, Foursquare has collected a huge database of information about the hottest locations all around the world. At this point, it has become more than just a way to announce your location: it is the ultimate search tool to find the best places, see where your friends have been, read recommendations and comments, view pictures from other Foursquare users like you, and much, much more.

With it’s huge success, Foursquare recently announced some new additions to the app in the latest version – Foursquare 6.0. The app now has a sleek design that is organized into four main sections. For added ease, the Search feature is now located at the top so you can quickly find what you’re looking for – just enter a search term (such as “coffee”) and you’ll immediately see the best places for your location. Underneath you’ll find a map, with interesting places and friend check-ins labeled. This great visual feature allows you to explore the area around you and where you friends have been. Under the map you’ll now find a section for personal recommendations. Knowing your interests and check-ins, Foursquare can find the perfect matches for you based on the data from 3.5 billion check ins, which paint a great picture of every city. Finally, at the bottom is your own check-in button. Use it to tell your friends where you are and to highlight your favorite places for others to find when they’re in the area.

To get an idea of the valuable information Foursquare offers you, you can go to their website and do a search, even if you don’t have the app yet. When you’re ready to join, the Foursquare app is completely free and you can download it to your iPhone, Android phone or BlackBerry, as well as many other devices.

Next time you’re at a business meeting in another city, on vacation anywhere around the world, or just stopping by a nearby town that you rarely visit, you’ll be prepared to get top recommendations from a 3.5 billion “check in” dataset of Foursquare users like you. In addition, business owners should consider using Foursquare to promote their own business. Having customers check in to your location will get you increased visibility, which could ultimately lead to a boost in profits.

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Jennifer Peaslee

Jennifer has a Masters in Sociology from the University of Notre Dame. She is currently working as a freelance writer, editor, blogger and researcher.

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