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What was previously a check-in centric app, is now more of a personalized Yelp
We knew it was going to happen this summer and it finally did -- Foursquare, the app that encourages GPS “check ins” to places that you physically visit, has just unveiled its new redesign.
The design seems to be taking a page out from Facebook by really beefing up the profile portion and blowing up the profile photo and adding various contact information and social media profiles front-and-center.
The new layout is using the growing desire for people to explore photos and people in the new version -- like Pinterest, if you will -- and also brings in more content from third-party sites that helps add more than just Foursquare-user generated content.
Another noticable upgrade is the new map that helps you see where your friends are in relation to you and each other -- certainly upping the chances of meet-ups and checking out venues that are close by.
I am a big fan of the 'explore' option that was added to the service several months back and the redesign has made this an even more promentant tool. Explore now takes into account what people are talking about in the area when it creates a recommendation.
It will factor in what you have like in the past, what your friends like, and what nearby people have liked when it suggests new places to explore.
The app also lets users utilize new like and dislike buttons (hearts/broken hearts) to help shape future recommendations and let your friends know what you think.
Users, even the most casual, will also really notice this redesign because of the blown-out profiles, images, and the relocation of the check-in button. While, before, the check-in button was the hub that everything else was positioned around, now it seems like the app wants you to use it like a personalized Yelp and then check-in if you wish.
The redesign was certainly needed and wanted, since the company's addition of the radar and explore functions were a big hit when they were added in the fall. Foursquare has raised more than $71 million in venture capital since it was founded in 2009, and was most recently valued at more than $600 million.
This redesign and desire to keep people on the app for longer periods is definately a move in the right direction but some are wondering if all these moves don't just delay the likely result -- that Foursquare will eventually get snapped up by Google or Facebook and folded into their services.
The updated app is now available iPhone and Android, with an update for Blackberry to follow in coming weeks.
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