San Francisco -- After weeks of teasing, Foursquare, the social check-in app for both iPhone and Android over the weekend got a complete redesign in the latest update out that sees it incorporating features from social discovery and local search applications, as well as offering more for users with recommendations suggesting new places to visit.
Foursquare, which was unveiled in 2009 and now boasts nearly 20 million users, lets users “check in” to shops and other locations to share their whereabouts with social contacts.
Essentially, the streamlined interface now employs just fewer buttons than older versions but adds changes in functionality based on millions of users' feedback, says Alex Rainert, head of product at Foursquare.
Basically, the new interface now has three tabs for Friends, Explore, and your profile at the bottom of the screen, instead of the previous version of the app that had 5 buttons.
Foursquare portrayed the redesign as “a whole new app.” The app's “explore” function will now allow users to browse locations by category or conduct a specific search like “free wi-fi” or “dumplings,” a company blog post announcing the launch said.
Apparently, not forgetting its roots, Foursquare still aims to be the app for check-ins and, to make this even easier, the check-in button has been shifted from the center of the tab bar to a more optimal position closer to users' thumbs, making the tab bar more simpler to use.
In fact, with the inclusion of an 'Explore’ function back in January, the social check-in Foursquare took a big leap forward and touts the “explore” function as a better local search than Yelp or Google's Local (formerly Places). While users of those apps all get roughly the same results, Foursquare users get “a very personalized set of search results,” based on prior check-ins, friends' check-ins and a given location's popularity across Foursquare, Holger Luedorf, Foursquare's vice president of business development, said at a conference in San Francisco on Tuesday.
In addition, employing data from millions of check ins, Rainert says, Foursquare Labs is able to make suggestions not only based on friends and people with similar interests; it can tweak it down to the best results for the time of day. In one example, Rainert discussed about looking at the Explore tab on Friday at 5PM, which would give you results for happy hour locations in your area along with showing where your friends were celebrating the end of the work week.
Apart from explore, even better is that you will now be able to view where your friends are on the map. The new Friends tab empowers you to view feed of latest activity from your friends with big photographs as you browse through; lets you comment and “Like” any activity simply with a tough of a button; and check out tips and lists that are near your current location.
Interestingly, Foursquare has done more than just add a few nifty features to its app; it has rebuilt it and redefined how users will interact with it. On the other hand, the Profile tab got an overhaul as well, now adding more information you can view about your history with Foursquare. You can now look at a history of your check-ins, Friends, badges you have earned, comments and tips you have left at various locations, and your lists.
So, if you love using Foursquare, the newly refurbished Foursquare app is now available in the App Store for free.