Foursquare’s Explore is great for recommending things to do here and now, but when it came to using all that data to find something to do in the future or in a different place, Explore fell behind other services like Yelp and Google Places.
That all changes today with the launch of Explore on the web.
Foursquare users can now get recommendations for anywhere in the world right from their desks. It takes each user’s individual preferences into account â€” based on their checkin history â€” and combines it with things their friends like and other data gleaned from more than 1.5 billion checkins to come up with targeted recommendations.
Instead of just searching nearby as in the mobile app, Explore on the web lets users search any location in the world. They can browse by category (food, arts, coffee, etc.) or search for a specific thing like “tacos” or “pad thai.”
Explore on the web also brings new filtering options. Users can filter the list to show only places they haven’t been before, or to see places their friends have been to, for example.
It represents foursquare’s deepest foray yet into what they hope will be the future of the service â€” recommendations â€” and marks foursquare’s biggest threat to local search that up to now has been dominated by Yelp and Google Places. The breadth of data foursquare has on the types of people who visit certain places and each user’s preferences gives it a significant leg up on the one-size-fits-all searches provided by others in the space.
After years of Amazon and Netflix recommendations on books and movies, users have come to expect a local search experience that’s tailored to their tastes. That takes data â€” lots of data â€” and with almost three years of it (helped along by the early gamification techniques used to encourage it), foursquare is uniquely positioned to provide those types of recommendations on a local basis.