The latest news on Foursquare’s partnership/investment from Microsoft got me thinking. Apologies for the tone/grammatical mistakes below - I’m writing quickly before the urge to put my thoughts down whimpers away with the deluge of today’s tasks.
I love Foursquare. I love it’s potential to change the world. I think about location a lot. I think geography is the third pillar in our future world, and Foursquare had a great opportunity to not only shake things up but also be the killer experience.
The press release for Foursquare’s 7.0 from TechCrunch today is interesting, if not terribly informative. This article is a great example of tech reporting in 2013 - a quick stab at analysis but mainly a conduit for the company’s evolving pitch.
I love love the new design - but at it’s core, the value proposition not set.
Disclosure: My wife used to work for Foursquare, but we rarely discuss our product management work in detail. I’m writing as a fan of the service and as a fascinated observer of the current state of press reporting on tech product development. I love the idea of location-ness in our lives.
‘Mobile search is just broken. Everyone in this goes to yelp and searches and each of us get the same result. That’s clearly a broken model because every one of us is going to do different things or have different favorites’ he said, highlighting that Foursquare’s focus is on personalized search, with result tailored to the user based on their previous information.
Beyond the official feature list, there are more subtle signs that the company is working to make itself more relevant to users and to advertisers. It has spent more time mining its growing trove of data, producing detailed charts of ice cream sales in New York over the course of a year, comparative breakdowns of mass transit use in New York and the San Francisco Bay Area, and the different buying habits of men versus women. And that’s just what the company is willing to discuss publicly; given the quantity of check-ins and comments it processes, it could run far more detailed analyses.
This is the magic sauce for Foursquare. I find myself checking in / updating statuses / taking photos more on Path now, but if Foursquare 5.0 can provide useful things for me to do IRL without a lot of effort (i.e. search), that’s the killer part of the app. And super interested in how all that data gets parsed and packaged into recommendations.
Disclosure: my wife works at Foursquare on this stuff, but I have no idea what their plans are since we try to not talk about work
much as we usually get deep into the product details and go batshit crazy.
Foursquare geeks may enjoy this one:
Check-ins can be sent on to foursquare (and again re-broadcast to Twitter, etc. or to your followers or just “off the grid”) but the important part is: They don’t have to be. As much as this screenshot of my activity on foursquare cracks me up it’s not actually representative of my life and suggests a particular kind of self-censorship.
But he then goes beyond that to introduce some new taxonomies that should be interesting cases for Explore:
Second, privatesquare has its own internal taxonomy of event-iness. It is:
- I am here
- I was there
- I want to go there
- again again
- again maybe
- again never
Much more nerdiness into the project if you’re so inclined over at Near Future Lab.