To say it’s a dramatic overhaul is putting things lightly: Foursquare scorched the earth of mayorships (upsetting a few users), and spun the humble check-in into its own standalone location-sharing app, Swarm, back in May.
So what does Foursquare 8.0 offer that previous versions apparently didn’t? Intelligent, personalized recommendations.
Whereas Yelp and Google Places can help you scout out new restaurants ahead of time, the new Foursquare takes its massive data pile of 6 billion check-ins, 55 million tips, and 65 million places to serve up immediate suggestions for meals and other leisure activities, whether you are looking for a spot to grab a coffee in an unfamiliar neighborhood or want to find a nearby art gallery to check out. Your friends, rewards, and all the other stuff emblematic of the old Foursquare have been phased out.
What kind of suggestions Foursquare will offer is based on a few things: Your check-in history, the time of day, and, of course, where you are–which could be Foursquare’s key competitive advantage. Looking for a brunch spot that also happens to serve donuts on a Saturday at noon? Foursquare will remember your predilection for sprinkles and recommend a well-reviewed brunch place nearby. It bills itself, now, as a service that “learns what you like.”
It’s all intertwined with Foursquare’s goal to break into the mainstream like its technology contemporaries–Yelp, Twitter, Instagram, and, yes, even Snapchat. Despite having 138 million monthly users, the company has struggled to clearly define itself in front of its critics; it tried to do too much. As Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley told my colleague Austin Carr last summer: “Over the last couple of years, we’ve had to build a lot of stuff just to fight for survival, so we don’t get crushed by a Facebook or Google… It’s been like working our way through Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out.”
In any case, you should be able to download the new Foursquare over here.