Foursquare has been testing venue ratings on their website for the past few months. Today those ratings make the jump to the mobile platforms for the first time with an updated version of the iPhone app.
The company is quick to point out in a blog post that these ratings aren’t like the star ratings you’d find at Yelp or other sites, saying:
Instead of other sites where every place gets 3.5 stars, we come up with our scores using the same Foursquare magic that powers Explore. We look at signals like tips, likes, dislikes, popularity, loyalty, local expertise, and nearly 3 billion check-ins from over 25 million people worldwide. And, with every check-in and Explore search, our scores will get smarter and better.
They’re using a lot of inputs to come up with these ratings, which offer a good bit of variety across a ten point scale. It’s easy to make a comparison between the Foursquare popularity of two venues at a glance, because even those that are well-liked typically fall across the 8 to 9.5 range, instead of all clustering in a single spot.
Foursquare’s ratings are one of their keys to taking on Yelp and Google+ Local Places head-to-head in the future. The biggest benefit is they’re based on real-world activity, not the whims of a few top reviewers made days or weeks after the visit.
Version 5.3.3 is now available in the app store.
What do you think of Foursquare’s ratings? Do you prefer them to other rating systems?