When Foursquare debuted, it was a novel idea to glean valuable check-in data from users in exchange for virtual badges. But now every social network has at least some check-in feature. What’s Foursquare to do? Leverage all that data and make it useful to people who don’t care if they’re the Mayor of a coffeehouse.
If you go to Foursquare’s main page today, and you’re not logged in, you’ll see an option to search around you. However, it doesn’t seem to be that precise: it placed me generally in Brooklyn (which is a pretty big place) and a search for “food” only found touristy places in Manhattan–over a 30 minute drive or subway ride away. There could be scant coverage if you’re not in a metropolitan area. Plus, the hours and menu data aren’t as comprehensive as other local search services. Still, Foursquare data is excellent for determining which bars or restaurants are still in business, which is something that apps like Yelp struggle with. Still, if you’re looking for a new restaurant in your neighborhood that’s popular with smartphone-toting early adopters, you may be able to find a mayor-approved place through Foursquare search.