Foursquare 8.0 - Product Stars
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Foursquare 8.0

Learns what you like and leads you to places you love

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Matt Galligan
Hunter
While some are not a fan that the check-in experience is now in a separate app (Swarm), I'm a fan of the new experience. I've used Foursquare for years now to discover places to go and have never been let down. Foursquare is indispensable for place discovery if you live in a city or travel at all.
Conrad Barrett
@mg I've always enjoyed foursquare data over yelp rants
Seth Berman
@mg Some people swear by Foursquare as a local search app, especially in some international markets. That said, Dennis has made clear he wants it to be an everyday app for people in their home cities.
Seth Berman
@conradd Agreed, but "Expertise" smells a lot like "Elite" to me.
Sachin Agarwal
@mg Foursquare really shines internationally. I still way prefer Yelp domestically. Sad that both have neglected their desktop web experience, though.
Tom Maxwell
@sachinag I'm just sad they removed your total check-in count from the web experience. :(
Dennis Crowley
Maker
@sbermo Nah, we worked really hard to make sure you had to *earn* Expertise... a combination of the tips you leave and the engagement you receive on them. We're really exited about it.
Seth Berman
@dens That's clear. To be fair, writing thousands of reviews is earning it too, and Yelp's play is volume of reviews with as much coverage as possible. It doesn't mean all Elite reviews are necessarily useful, but many hours go into them to become Elite, and that's what Yelp is rewarding. I get what Foursquare is doing is different, because you want to recommend the right places rather than provide information about every place.
Phil Toronto
Perhaps this should be renamed to Foursquare 8.0?
Matt Galligan
Hunter
@philtoronto Looks like someone did that. But while it's certainly the version number, I felt like "8.0" meant a whole lot less than "The New" since that's how they've been branding it. Similar to when Apple launched "The New iPad" instead of calling it the iPad 3. @rrhoover Thoughts?
Phil Toronto
@mg I understand that - I was going off of what @dens has been tweeting and most of the press has been posting. They've been using 8.0 a lot, but it's that "new new"!
Seth Berman
Do or die time for Foursquare! Looking Yelpier every day.
Phil Toronto
@sbermo ... but way more functional and tailored.
Seth Berman
@philtoronto Recently Foursquare tried to push recommendations using background location, which drains the iPhone battery. I turn off background processing on pretty much every app. I've checked in thousands of times and even have a few areas of Expertise in the new Foursquare. I look forward to seeing how its personalization works for me.
Phil Toronto
@sbermo I'm confident that they will only get better and they were already pretty damn good. Explore has been telling me where I should go with friends and for work meetings since it was overhauled. I trust it. Foursquare gets me.
Joe Anderson
@sbermo could you describe how this experience was supposed to work before you turned it off?
Seth Berman
@Anderson760 This feature was from Foursquare 7.0 released in December, 2013. They claimed that it didn't use background services, so maybe I was being too conservative. Here's a good explanation - http://gigaom.com/2013/12/05/foursquare-7-0-brings-passive-location-technology-to-all/.
Dennis Crowley
Maker
@sbermo Hey hey -- Expertise is based off tips you leave (not checkins), and more importantly, the likes/saves/shares you get on this tips. Better tips == more engagement == more Expertise :) (btw - Expertise is what we wanted Badges to be back in 2010... we just couldn't figure out how to do it back then)
Seth Berman
@dens Thanks for jumping in. I totally get what you're doing with Expertise, and I also see clear differentiation from Yelp. I haven't been using the app since check-ins were removed, but I updated and I look forward to giving it a shot. I rely heavily on Eater.com lists in my home city of SF and other cities they cover. Yelp is mostly an address book for me at this point. I'd love to see Foursquare fill the space in between. Good luck!
Dennis Crowley
Maker
@sbermo When was the last time you tried this and experienced the battery drain? It was *really bad* when we launched in 2011. It was a lot *less bad* when we flexed it again in 2012, got *better* in 2013 and I think it's *pretty good* now in late 2014 -- our tests show less than 1% per hour of drain. The way we see it, ambient & contextually aware location services are 100% the future. We are the company that's prob pushing at the boundaries of this future most aggressively. It's one of the things I love most about our company.
Seth Berman
@dens At the time, my iPhone battery was going from 100% to 0% in about an hour of use, and that was with background services disabled in virtually every app. I've since replaced the battery, but I got in the habit of disabling background services. I'll give it a shot with the new Foursquare.
Roy Marmelstein
Will sure miss the check-in but this feels like the right direction for Foursquare. The expertise feature in particular seems like a really interesting idea to keep users motivated to leave tips (as a more active form of the old badges). Hope they manage to find the bigger audience they are after.
Ryan Hoover
TBH, I joined the Foursquare bandwagon when it first launched but stopped using it shortly afterward. But more recently I visited NYC and found it to be the best way to search for coffee shops and restaurants nearby, far better than Yelp in that city.
Phil Toronto
@rrhoover you should check out my lists for your next visit ;)
Seth Berman
@rrhoover I agree that Yelp is best used when you are looking for somewhere you already know about. My primary Yelp use cases are (1) looking up an address of a known place and (2) bookmarking a bunch of places I found on Eater.com Heatmaps in a city I'm visiting for easy reference getting there later.
Ryan Hoover
@philtoronto you've proven to be a good picker already. Will do!
Dennis Crowley
Maker
@rrhoover Hey thx! We've been hearing this from people ("Foursquare search is so much better than Yelp!") for 2+ years... the problem has been that in the old app, many people didn't even know you could use 4SQ for search since checkin was so front and center. Glad we finally fixed that.
Joe Anderson
@dens there might still be more you can do with affordance in the labels/around search, yelp uses a lot of real estate to almost suggest what to kind of search near where. I might do something like change the label to "Search for food, drinks, etc" and change it based on the context of the day / location. As well as potentially micro text underneath. Something to explore!
Micah Baldwin
As one of the first foursquare users, I've always enjoyed the app. I like that I have an enormous amount of checkin data, and it has been helpful to find local things. But, this feels a bit wide in focus. While I totally get it, the conflux of functionality and ad revenue is going to be interesting to see.
[deleted user]
Kudos to Foursquare for realizing they had two distinct sets of users (with some overlap) -- the checkin game players, and those who use Foursquare to find local places. They did a pretty nice job managing the transition for the game players over to a better experience in Swarm, and now with the new Foursquare, we're seeing them take advantage of their superior place data in an app that will have more appeal to the masses than the previous incarnation.
Solene Maître
I used it at the very beginning then stop using it, and eventually became a TRUE fan when I moved in New York. Foursquare unlocks the best of what New York has to offer. Splitting the app in two makes perfect sense to me. I use Swarm to check-in as an old habit and also for the social aspect (where are your friends?). They did a great job with he last update of Swarm. I use Foursquare when I'm looking for recommendations, and fill my ToDo list :) I don't mind having 2 apps as the triggers to open the apps are different. Links between apps are well designed and we should get used to it - it's a common pattern as a mobile-first service growths. Congrats to the Foursquare team!
Nikita Korotaev
I'm a Foursquare superuser. I'm having hard time liking the split. The original pitch made more sense to me. To get personalised recommendations, the app needs to know where are you going and where are you friends are going. The Old Foursquare had a constant flow of that data. The New Foursquare has the same promise of personalised recommendations, but has moved checkins to another app. So where would the "Personalised" part come from? (Looks like the checkin button is not that hidden in the new Foursquare. And I've just checked in via Swarm reasonably quickly)
Seth Berman
@nikitakorotaev Personalizations come from your checkin history and the tastes you select in the new Foursquare app. For me, so few of my friends every used Foursquare to make that part of it useful. Everything in Foursquare 8.0 is public, which means your friends don't have to use it to make it useful.
justinparfitt
@nikitakorotaev Hey Nikita, HeyLets (iOS) solves the problem you raise about personalization. We're on Product Hunt today. I'd love for you to check it out and get your feedback: http://www.producthunt.com/posts/heylets-relaunched
Eric Metelka
One of my main use cases for Foursqaure is lists and lists are BURIED in 8.0. (So many clicks!) I use lists for places I want to go to in my city, a city I'm visiting, and just my favorites. I have a list of my favorite lunch options, for instance. I was happy to see that using the lunch filter in Foursquare 8.0 was about 80% identical to that lunch list I built, though. My hope is that their algorithms replace the need for me to build manual lists, but this remains to be seen. EDIT: Feature request - long press on a "taste" to add it to your personal taste profile.
Dennis Crowley
Maker
@eric3000 Yeah, lists are a bit buried for now (Profile -> Saved -> Lists). In hustling to get the app out, we had to make tough decisions about what would make it in for launch and what we'd work on immediately after launch. Lists will get some love in the near future. (FWIW - Everyone here at 4SQ loves their list and we want to make them as awesome as possible)
Darren J Smith
I'm been an avid user of Foursquare from day 1. There's too much fuss over the app being split into 2! They observed they have (at least) 2 very distinct types of user, and have the balls to split it out. It will give both apps the freedom to correctly serve their users. I've just now had a play with the new Foursquare. Seems neat. I wonder if the default selected 'venue type' changes depending on the time of the day you open up the app....?
[deleted user]
@darrenux Seems so - I noted it offered "Lunch" suggestions be default to me at 11:45am when I opened the app. Now it's offering "Coffee" suggestions at 2:00pm.
Jimmy Douglas
My circle of close friends and I are Foursquare power users. We literally use it as a way to stay in touch regarding everyone's whereabouts on any given night in Portland. The separate apps has tripped people up a little bit, but I think it makes sense from a business standpoint. The total market size for the discovery use case is far greater than those of us in the check-in-crazy category. With checking-in being at the center of the original Foursquare app, I can see how the users they are competing with Yelp for would have been turned off. Now those of us who check-in everywhere can continue to have that experience, and Foursquare can focus on creating a better discovery solution, which happens to be integrated with my check-ins. I like the idea. I hope this new app makes me stop missing Oink. I really miss Oink.
Ivan Kirigin
I'd love someone to explain why you couldn't combine the privacy models in a single app. Background location could be not publicly shared, and sharing reviews could act as a checkin. I wrote up my thoughts here: http://blog.kirigin.com/new-new-foursquare
Dennis Crowley
Maker
@ikirigin Two different privacy models is maybe the #1 reason to split the app -- it's impossible for a normal user (aka: not super early tech adopter) to grok both a Friend and Follower model in the same app. My making Swarm = checkins + private + friends only and Foursquare = tips + public + followers, we cleaned up one of our biggest headaches.
Ivan Kirigin
@dens Yep, something that I glossed over in my post is comments / messaging. The former fits a public view (like comments on amazon reviews) and the latter fits friends coordinating. I would imagine a checkin==post world would be the start of a group conversation, but that is more complex than I represented. This distinction is interesting, but it isn't actually the same issue as always-tracking vs friend-checkins that those investor posts mentioned. [obligatory "great to see founders on product hunt!" comment]
ece (。◕‿◕。)
I'm a Foursquare power user in NYC & have a sizable contingent of close friends who also check in regularly. I pay for international data when I travel in large part so that I can check in & use tips to navigate. I've loved Foursquare for years & really want them to succeed. I think Foursquare 8.0 is a HUGE step forward in finally delivering on the promise of personalizing based on the several years & 4000+ check-ins worth of data I've shared with the app. I understand the reasoning for making discovery a focus in itself & my initial impression of the new experience is great. However, I do have one major concern which is that the Swarm + Foursquare 8.0 split seems to have optimized entirely for consumption of tips & not for creation of them. I was never a huge tip writer but every time I've left a tip it's been spur of the moment & inspired by the act of checking-in. Never have I set out to leave a series of helpful tips for my friends at various locations - and I think the sort of user who does that is very niche, very opinionated & probably closer to the Yelp-style reviewer than the breezily authentic tip writers that I love about Foursquare. By taking the ability to leave tips out of Swarm, it seems the new system has drastically reduced the opportunity for casually given advice.
Dennis Crowley
Maker
@ecetweets Really? I think the new Foursquare is 1000x better at teasing tips out of people -- the "add tip" button is on the top right of every page! :) Also, the "Here" tab tasks for tips and the "Add Tip" screen gives you a list of all the places you've been to AND lets you know which ones you already left tips at. (ssshh, but in the 4 hours since we launched the app (!) we already got 5x as many tips (!!) as we normally get in a 24 hour period)
ece (。◕‿◕。)
@dens Great to hear re: early performance of tips - hopefully keeps going in that direction! And awesome to have you answering questions here! If you have time to answer more, here's another one: haven't been out in the wide world with new Foursquare yet, but if reading tips, leaving tips & checking-in to Swarm are all built into "Here" tab, seems like I will mostly be firing up Foursquare > Here when I get places rather than Swarm. Feels like a regression on the new behavior I've "learned" in the past few weeks of transition e.g. open Swarm to check in, open Foursquare to learn about places. Is the assumption/goal that most people will be checking in to Swarm via Foursquare (where they can also read & leave tips)? If so, was the split largely driven by privacy distinctions + wanting to really optimize for the more broadly appealing discovery use case.... or do you really think there's a sizable group of users out there who just want the check-in side & don't care for tips at all?
Noah Weiss
@ecetweets There are two separate questions here, so let me address each. 1) If you use both apps, what should your flow be when you get to the place? The answer, for me, is it depends on the place. If it's somewhere I've never been, the fastest way to find out what to order or see is Foursquare > Here. It takes seconds. Then I might check-in later, and the Swarm button is convenient. If it's a place I go a lot and don't care about tips, the fastest thing is to just open up Swarm, it'll snap to my location quickly, and check-in. That's for social and personal history reasons. 2) Do we think there are people who would use just one app? The answer is absolutely. We think there's a *huge* potential audience who just wants great personalized recommendations but has no interest in social sharing. The check-in, we know, can be off putting to those people.
Ken Romano
My biggest pet peeve with the new app is the notion of Expertise. I hope there's a little bit more to the algorithm than just "you post a lot about x so you're an expert" (which is what the reviews I've read so far imply). It reminds me of the biggest issue I always had with Klout, and why I would caution customers from using it as a good gauge of influence. Sure, Kim Kardashian has a Klout score of 9,645,456 and she might be influential about fashion and branding, but that doesn't mean she's influential about auto racing or retina displays. It's all about context. Similarly, just because someone is reviewing various Olive Gardens constantly (apologies to anyone who loves Olive Garden) doesn't mean I'm going to consider them an expert on Italian Food the next time I'm looking for a good recommendation.
Eric Metelka
@kenromano You'll see your expertise stats on your profile pages. It's not just how many tips, but also likes and saves of your tips. So if they're crap, you won't be an expert. As for Olive Garden vs. Italian Food, all about how Foursquare classifies Olive Gardens. I'd lump them together :)
Dennis Crowley
Maker
@kenromano It's a mix of leaving Tips AND getting feedback on them... so it's a two way street. You can *imagine* expertise extending to taste ("expertise in lobster rolls" --- hot, right???) or even leveling at some point. But not yet :)
Ken Romano
@dens glad to hear that. good luck!
Tom Maxwell
This transition has definitely been a bit scary for a Foursquare power-user like myself, but I think it's for the best. I'm just the kind of user Dennis described in a recent interview -- whenever I opened Foursquare in the past it was for ONE use-case, the check-in or recommendations, but not both. If splitting the apps apart makes both experiences better, then so be it. The only thing I'm sad about is that my total check-in count has been ripped from the web experience. It makes sense, but I'm still sad.
Dennis Crowley
Maker
@tommaxwelll Eh, maybe one of these days we'll build out a Swarm web profile experience but it's nowhere near the top of the priority list. We got a lot of other stuff to make first... this is just the beginning :)
Tom Maxwell
@dens Like I said, it makes sense. The tradeoffs are totally worth it for the new experience which is 100x better, I just miss being able to see my check-ins from the web. NBD, though.
Jordan Cooper
this is the what I've wanted Foursquare to become for a long time. nice job @dens
Dennis Crowley
Maker
@jordancooper Thx pal!
Paul Smith
I've been a Foursquare fanboy for years and the experience, especially in new places, just kept getting better. I wasn't a fan of Swarm, it felt redundant in isolation so it got deleted, but I've re-downloaded it again tonight after updating Foursquare - it seems to make sense now, although the jury's still out on whether I'll pursue checkins as hard - I tended to use it more to see which friends were nearby. The new Forusquare app is blazing fast and looks gorgeous - genuinely can't wait to get travelling again (Estonia later this month) to see how it treats me.
Dennis Crowley
Maker
@paul_a_smith Thx! Remember, this is the beginning of both apps -- Swarm is still on 1.0.8! Just wait how great it'll be once we hit 2.0 :)
Mike Mignano
@dens is there any notion of ratings for a restaurant being weighted and personalized for me by my "similarity" to the people who left tips/likes at that restaurant? in other words, if someone has completely different tastes than i do, do their tips/likes mean as much to me as someone whose are identical to mine?
Dennis Crowley
Maker
@mignano Great question. Not *yet* -- right now, everyone sees the same rating for a place. But there is certainly the opportunity for us to create custom ratings for every place for every person. (and this is something we think about / experiment with often)
justinparfitt
@mignano Hey Mike, HeyLets (iOS) solves the very problem you raise regarding personalization. We're on Product Hunt today, I'd love for you to check it out and let me know your feedback: http://www.producthunt.com/posts/heylets-relaunched
Darren J Smith
@dens FYI swarm could probably be split into 2 apps: One for checking in where you are now. One for telling people where you're going to be in the near future. 2 different use cases. :)
Dennis Crowley
Maker
@darrenux Eh, we think of Swarm as "keep up and meet up w/ friends". I think it's pretty compact as it is. Sure, it needs a little love (speed, animation, game mechanics) but all that is on the roadmap. (the Swarm team ended up pitching in to help the Foursquare app get over the finish line, thus some things in Swarm didn't get done as fast as we wanted them to)

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