This morning, Foursquare is rolling out version 6.0 of its app. It puts a new search box “front and center” at the top of the screen to emphasize the local search capabilities of the app. It also adds or enhances other features to make it easier to find places and things to do.
The company is using all its social and check-in data to generate greater utility, as well as create a discovery or recommendations edge over Yelp and Facebook’s relatively new Nearby/Local Search.
Below is the previous version of the app, which featured tabs at the bottom. Search was available under Explore and via icons at the top of the home screen:
In the new version of the app, a search box resides right at the top of the screen. The tabs at the bottom are gone and, instead, there’s a prominent new check-in icon:
Using check-in and other data — Foursquare says there have been 3.5 billion check-ins — it’s also trying to further emphasize local recommendations:
Indeed, recommendations are Foursquare’s major differentiator. Its numerical places-ratings data are also based on behavior rather than opinion, so in theory, are more reliable than pure reviews-based rankings.
Although it’s often compared to Yelp, it’s really Facebook that Foursquare is battling as it seeks to maintain momentum and continue its transformation from a social game into a local search utility and city guide.
Facebook turns out to be the second most widely used app for local search (per comScore) after Google Maps despite the fact that most people don’t even know about Nearby/Local Search yet.