Foursquare gets a suggestive redesign

7 Jun 2012

Foursquare, the social check-in app, has launched an update that sees it offering more for users with recommendations suggesting new places to visit.

Foursquare’s app redesign has been hinted at for a while now, and the latest version focuses more on helping users to find new places, rather than just allowing them to check-in.

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 moved from the centre of the tab bar to a more optimal position closer to users’ thumbs, making the tab bar simpler with just three functions: Friends, Explore and Me.

Exploring made easy

With the addition of an ‘Explore’ function back in January, Foursquare took a big step and positioned itself as a competitor for Yelp or Google’s Local (formerly Places). Previously, users would have to search for what they were looking for in the Explore tab, but now the app taps into the serendipitous nature of discovery and gives suggestions for where to go immediately, as well as letting you know where your friends are and if there are any good deals in the area.

Recommendations are becoming more savvy, too, as the app uses your own check-in history, places your friends or Foursquare users with similar tastes like, and information from others who have visited an area.

Visually different

Going the way of many social apps these days, Foursquare’s new design also makes it more visual. Photos in the Friends tab are now given more space, and user profiles have a new aesthetic with six tiles for your friends, stats, photos, tips, badges and lists.

Foursquare profile

The social element has been enhanced, with the introduction of ‘likes’ for comments and the ability to mention Twitter friends in shouts, but there’s no similar Facebook integration.

Likes and dislikes of venues will help the new Explore function to make better recommendations and when viewing a venue, necessary information such as a phone number and directions, now appears front and centre

The app is now faster, too, and viewing photos, tips, lists and places from your friends has been made much simpler.

Foursquare has done more than just add a few new features to its app; it has rebuilt it and redefined how users will interact with it. No longer just a check-in app, version 5.0 is available now on iOS and Android, with an update for BlackBerry to follow in the coming weeks.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.