My kids are working on their lists for Santa Claus this week, so, as Christmas approaches, I felt it appropriate to create my own wish list for Santa Dens. Some of these items are new, others are ones I’ve wanted for a long time, but I think they’d all be great additions to the Foursquare service.
Personalized group results
According to Santa Dens, one of the earliest incarnations of Explore was a tool designed to help the Foursquare staff pick where they should eat lunch. That leads to one of the things I really want to be able to do with Explore: tell it which friends I’m with and get results personalized for all of us, including places we’re both likely to enjoy and excluding places one of us has been recently.
It should work equally well for a couple — answering the dreaded “where should we go for dinner” question — or for large groups, like the gang I normally eat lunch with. Knowing the places we’ve been recently helps eliminate the dreaded “I had pizza for dinner last night” response and should help Foursquare come up with a good recommendation that we’re all likely to enjoy.
Connected Apps on Venue Pages
I’ve been looking through a lot of connected apps lately and one thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of them provide information that would be more useful when I was picking a place instead of after I’d checked in. DontEat.at is a perfect example, as is a suggestion I saw to keep track of the places that serve Coke vs. Pepsi. Access Together‘s accessibility information could be vitally important to the disabled when choosing where to go.
I’d love to see certain connected apps given a space directly on venue pages, both inside the app and on the website. If I’ve connected an app, it could show simple icons indicating a company’s status pertaining to that app or it could be a list similar to the ones we currently see on the post check-in screen. Either way, I think it’s important to bring some of that valuable data being collected by developers to the point where users are making a decision, not to the screen they see after they’ve already made a commitment.
I begged for a Foursquare iPad app a year and a half ago, but everyone said “who’d want to check in on an iPad?” Now that Foursquare has moved much farther into the realm of recommendations, it’s much clearer what use an iPad app would have. Explore results — with their heavy emphasis on photos — deserve an easy, native way to be browsed on the tablet platform.
The desktop version of Explore works decently on the iPad, but a web page is never as user-friendly as an actual app experience.
Imagine seeing a large map of Foursquare’s recommendations with images and descriptions listed on the side. A tap would take you to an iPad optimized version of the venue screen with a heavy focus on photos to draw you in. My ideal iPad app would include my friends’ activity feed and locations (perhaps included on the map as they are on the Foursquare homepage), but only as a secondary function. Using the app to actually check-in isn’t really even necessary.
Kill the 1,000 brands limit
I love liking businesses on Foursquare. Even if I’ve only been there a few times, or have a passing interest in the brand, I enjoy seeing their tips, lists, local updates and other features in my Foursquare stream. The service, however, puts an unnecessary limit of 1,000 on the number of brands or businesses users can like. Go beyond that and you’ll be told you can’t follow any more brands.
As more and more businesses join Foursquare and claim their venues, I find myself hitting that limit on a regular basis. I’m forced to unfollow a few brands to get back under 1,000 before I can follow the newest ones. I probably go a lot farther the average than the average user to make that happen. Most would simply move on and never like another brand.
I can’t be the only one hitting the cap — or at least I won’t be soon — so it’s time for Foursquare to drop this ridiculous limit before more users run up against it. Brands will be reluctant to join if they find their potential follower growth stymied by an arbitrary limit.
Integration with Siri, Apple Maps and iOS
My next wish isn’t something Santa Dens can deliver on his own; it will take the efforts of the elves in Cupertino to make it a reality. Foursquare offers a superior venue database to Yelp’s and should replace Yelp in all the spots where it’s found within Siri, Maps and iOS.
Asking Siri to find a good sushi place shouldn’t return just a list of sushi places nearby. It should show a filtered list of the best places nearby (personalized if you have a Foursquare account, of course), complete with their Foursquare 10-point rating. Navigating to a business should lead you to the proper location (Foursquare is insanely good at knowing this based on actual check-in locations) and not a random house.
While we’re at it, I’d love to see Foursquare included right alongside Facebook and Twitter as sharing options in iOS. Siri should even be able to check you in if you ask nicely.
Cincinnati City Badge
We’re all entitled to one selfish request on our Christmas lists, right? Mine is for a city badge for my adopted hometown. Cincinnati has tons of history combined with hip new places that would make a great Foursquare city list. But most importantly for Foursquare, a Cincinnati badge could serve to attract the attention of some of the large brands headquartered here, like Kroger, Macy’s, Luxottica and a tiny little soap company named Procter & Gamble.
Which of these do you think is most important? What’s on your Foursquare wish list?