Foursquare is set to launch version 6.0 of their iOS app today, an update the echoes many of the features recently added to the Android app. The biggest change users will notice is the front-and-center nature of the search and Explore features.
The app, expected to launch sometime this morning, opens by showing you a map and list what’s happening nearby, including friends who are nearby and new and trending local venues. It could also list suggestions for things to do, based on the time of day or places you’ve checked in recently. A search bar also appears right at the top of the screen.
As usual with Explore, the results are personalized based on the places you and your friends have been, as well as the tastes of local experts. They also change based on whether you’re near home or traveling.
The update comes at a critical time for Foursquare. Early users have grown bored with the original gaming aspects, while they haven’t offered a compelling reason for new users to sign up. This update must attract a significant number of regular users in order to recapture the attention of both businesses and investors, who’ve cooled on Foursquare amid reports of slow user growth. Foursquare is reportedly working to secure more funding.
By moving the search and discovery features front and center, they show new users and veterans alike what they’re focused on now. Foursquare sees search as the future of the company; it’s something users and businesses understand, and it’s monetizable.
Unfortunately, many users only think to use Explore when they’re traveling. With suggestions on the first screen, users will see that Foursquare can provide excellent recommendations even in their own neighborhoods.
It also shows users the value they get from checking in. With personalized recommendations in front of them each time they open the app, users will see how their check-ins and those of their friends directly affect the quality of the suggestions they get from Foursquare.
We’ll have more coverage once the app is released.
What do you think of the changes?