Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley may not have called Facebook Places “boring,” but the word couldn’t have been far from his mind as he considered the items on his company’s roadmap and compared them to Facebook’s meager initial offering. Over the past few days, Crowley has been more vocal than normal about the future of foursquare â€” perhaps as a way to reassure users that the company isn’t going anywhere despite the launch of Facebook Places.
We’ve pieced together Crowley’s public comments to come up with a list of ten things that are coming to foursquare both in the very near future and farther down the road. Foursquare could, of course, change their roadmap at any moment, but here’s our speculation of what you can expect in the coming weeks and months.
Very near term
- iPhone App 2.0: The foursquare iPhone app will be jumping to version 2.0 sometime this week or next. It is currently in beta testing. Preliminary indications are that this version will include two major changes, but foursquare is “thinking of 2.0 more [as] the platform / infrastructure on which we can start quickly launching features again,” Crowley told Business Insider.
- Improved tips and to-dos: The tips and todos are the main focus of the 2.0 release; they’ve undergone a major rework. We expect to see tips and todos made more prominent in the application, rather than tucked away under the third tab of the venue screen. This is likely the first step towards incorporating tips and to-dos into the Points 2.0 system (below).
- New authentication system: The updated app will tighten up the authentication system so that passwords are no longer sent in clear text. This plugs a potential security hole that came to light over the weekend.
- Facebook Places integration: Foursquare will clearly be integrating Facebook Places in some fashion in the next few weeks. Pushing foursquare checkins, badges and mayorships to the Facebook Places feed is an obvious first step. Pulling in your friends’ checkin data from Facebook Places could also be a possibility.
- Mobile-friendly website: A mobile-optimized version of the website looks to be in the pipeline as a part of the Facebook Places integration. Click on a Gowalla checkin in Facebook Places on the iPhone right now and you’ll be taken to the full Gowalla website, which isn’t very mobile-friendly. Foursquare is hoping to present a better face to mobile users who click through to their site.
- Photos: Gowalla users have been able to post photos along with their checkins for some time. It’s been one of foursquare’s most requested features, so they’ve pledged to implement them in the near future. You’ll be able to upload a photo to show off your favorite dish or something other users shouldn’t miss while they’re at the venue.
- How close you are to being mayor: The foursquare website makes it impossible to tell how many more checkins you need before you’ll become the mayor of a location. That’s why a host of third-party apps have popped up to make it easier to understand. In a recent Behind the Shell video with Carson Daly, CEO Dennis Crowley promised to make this a part of foursquare.
- Points 2.0: Crowley has mentioned Points 2.0 before, but he’s been very coy about what it will actually entail. It will be a total redesign of the “gameplay” experience that keeps users checking in. We expect it to be more about getting out, exploring your city and doing things that you normally wouldn’t do than the current points system which focuses mainly on checkins.
- Updates to Blackberry and Android apps: Foursquare’s Android and Blackberry apps tend to get features a few months behind the iPhone app, so look for these to be updated soon to include the tips/to-do updates and authentication changes included in v2.0 of the iPhone app.
- Rewarding more than the mayor: As more users join foursquare it becomes increasingly hard to gain mayorships. Businesses have asked for a way to reward more than just a single customer. “It’s about rewarding the best customers at a particular place. Maybe there’s a title that you shoot for and then there’s a whole crew underneath that,” said Crowley at the Mashable Media Summit in June. Expect foursquare to implement some sort of tiered system similar to Gowalla’s venue leaderboards.
- Better friend communication: On foursquare you’re able to “shout” something to your friends, but that’s where the communication ends. Foursquare willÂ be adding better communication tools to the apps. Whether they come in the form of Gowalla-style comments, leaving private messages for friends at venues or direct user-to-user communication remains to be seen.
- Recommendation engine: Crowley’s ultimate goal is to turn foursquare into a recommendation engine that will be able to give you suggestions for places to go and things to do. Making tips more prominent in the apps will help them collect more information about your likes and dislikes, eventually giving them more data from which to work. As he told the Telegraph:
â€œIn the future, I want Foursquare to be able to tell people where to go wherever they are in the world, based on their previous visiting habits, likes and dislikes and the time of dayâ€¦We want to be able to push venue suggestions to you. Thatâ€™s what I am pushing towards as we develop Foursquareâ€™s tools and how we use our data,â€ he explained.
In addition to new features, foursquare will also keep rolling out new badges, both sponsored and unsponsored. There will also be new specials both from national chains and small mom and pop businesses as well as new tools to help brands manage their foursquare presence. We may even see swarm specials â€” a la GroupTabs â€” where deals are only available after a certain number of people have checked in to the venue.
As you can see, foursquare has lots of plans to keep innovating in the location space. Now that their “summer of scaling” is behind them, expect to see new features rolling out on a regular basis.
Which features are you looking most forward to? Are there any not on this list that you’d like to see?