I went to bed last night anticipating the release of foursquare 3.0. I woke up this morning and looked out my window hoping it would be snowing, for it indeed felt like Christmas Day. I opened up my freshly charged HTC Incredible (nothing short of its name) to find the fantastic new update for foursquare. Feeling like a 6 year old who just got a new Nintendo 64 (you all remember those days) I dove straight into it.
It’s well understood that foursquare has a long road ahead of itself in its quest to grow to the likes of facebook and twitter with hundreds of millions of users. In my own view, sharing location, can be a bit daunting. Even if you are not publicizing that data, the very idea that someone else behind the scenes can track where you have gone may be too progressive for mainstream America. That said, simple gaming mechanics, virtual badges, and mayorships were clearly not enough to bridge the “security” issues and attract a larger network of users outside of the tech-savvy early adopters. Admittedly, even I stopped checking in for a few months because the value proposition was not high enough for me to pull out my phone everywhere I went to share my location. Alas, foursquare has certainly been focused in the past year on improving this experience. At approximately 2AM this morning they released foursquare 3.0. There are only two words to describe the new release. GAME CHANGER.
I’m not going to go into detail about all of the new features they have integrated into the platform, reason being that anyone with an account should upgrade immediately to try it themselves, and anyone without a foursquare account is at a pure loss. Anyone with a Blackberry should just throw their phones away now and save themselves the hassle of having to wait another few days/weeks. I will say that I found it quite refreshing to see a product delivered to its users whose features really touch upon the founders’ original vision; “making cities easier to use”. Foursquare 3.0 doesn’t just make cities easier to use, it makes cities more interesting. How often have you gone to the same restaurant or bar because you couldn’t think of anything else off the top of your head in a particular neighborhood? Gone are the days of repetition. The beautiful thing about the foursquare “explore” tab is that in a way it transcends the recommendations you find on any other service (yelp, google, urbanspoon, opentable, etc). In a way, it feels real. The things foursquare and other users are telling you to visit are personalized based on your own preferences, i.e. where you have checked in before. This is important for one reason. The incentive for me to to check-in has been multiplied. Knowing that the service is getting smarter to better help my ability to explore areas or venues I’ve never been to is really rewarding. I love services that get progressively better the more you use them.
Anyways, there is a lot more to say about foursquare 3.0 and I will probably write another few posts once I really start to use it in the next few weeks. In all, I’m excited, if not proud, that foursquare has stuck to its vision and delivered an exceptional service that is an amazing first step to changing the way we interact with each other and our city. To read more about the new release, I strongly encourage everyone to Dennis Crowley’s post on the foursquare blog.