For their first few years, Foursquare was very secretive about how you unlocked each of their badges, saying they wanted unlocking badges to be a surprise. Last year, they got a little more open by changing their unlock tweets to reveal exactly how each badge was earned.
Now they’ve taken it even further, by letting users know they’re close to unlocking a new level of one of the expertise badges (I have yet to see one for any of the other badges). The notification appears as one of the check-in “highlights” Foursquare now displays after users check in. It also appears below check-ins in the activity feed.
It’s interesting to see how Foursquare has come full circle with regards to revealing how to unlock badges. It reveals just how much the service has changed from a badge-centric check-in game to a local search engine where badges simply help to get users to check-in and feed the big data machine.
Other new highlights they’ve added recently include things like “4th most visited category” and “5 Rock Club check-ins in 60 days!” to let you know how often you’ve visited particular categories. These join some of their other notifications such as “Been here more than any other friend,” “Closing in on a friend…,” and “227 check-ins with the same friend” that are fun ways to quantify and gamify the data you’re feeding Foursquare.
Which of the highlights is your favorite?