New Automatic Version of Foursquare, No Check-In Required

Social network Foursquare, which allows users to check-in to a variety of locations and share tips with friends, will soon offer suggestions automatically. The company will announce the first public test of its service that will automatically detect where a user is located and make relevant suggestions. The new app will be tested by 2,000 Android users within the next few weeks with plans to become more publicly available later in the year.

“What we’re launching here is this smarter version of Foursquare that can sense where you are and give you the best recommendations,” said Dennis Crowley, Foursquare’s co-founder and chief executive.

For example, Crowley said that when he visited Mo’z Café in San Francisco, the new app told him that patrons of the café people enjoy the breakfast burritos and iced coffee.

“It’s a crucial bet for the company, which is fighting perceptions that it missed its shot to sell out to Yahoo or Apple, and that it will struggle to survive on its own,” suggests AllThingsD.

Foursquare attempted to achieve automatic suggestions in 2011 with a feature called Radar, but the constant location tracking ate up too much battery life.

The new app, however, drains less than 1 percent of battery life per hour.

“For Foursquare, jazzing up its service in a big way could lead to new interest among users and advertisers. Foursquare says that it has about 35 million users and 6 million check-ins a day, and that it is adding about 1.5 million new users a month as it expands in foreign markets like Russia, Brazil and Turkey. It has been slowly expanding its efforts to sell advertising to reach those users, including through a new self-service ad platform for local merchants,” explains The New York Times.

Crowley hopes that eventually 100 million people or more will be using Foursquare.

In related news, Microsoft and American Express are reportedly trying to separately invest in the company.

“A stake in Foursquare would give Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, a bigger role in social media and mobile, areas where it has lagged behind competitors such as Apple,” reports Bloomberg. For American Express, it would allow them to compete with rivals by tying loyalty and marketing programs to social media sites.

“It already offers discounts to users who check-in to a shop or restaurant on Foursquare and pay their tab using an American Express card, and lets customers buy items using a promotional hashtag in posts on Twitter Inc.’s site,” explains Bloomberg.

Investors are more interested in Foursquare after the company announced its new approach to advertising.

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