Apple Reportedly in Talks for Data-Sharing Deal with Foursquare

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is in early discussions with the location-based app Foursquare for a data-sharing deal. Apple SVP Eddy Cue is reportedly involved with the negotiations as he tries to improve the Maps app that hasn’t lived up to Apple’s expectations.

Apple Inc. is in early discussions to integrate local data from Foursquare Labs Inc. into its mapping application, according to people familiar with the talks, as the company continues to build an arsenal of local data to try to take on Google Inc.

Foursquare’s data would provide information regarding local businesses like restaurants, bars and more and even allows users to leave tips about businesses for future visitors. According to the report, Apple may be able to use that data in its Maps app as well. Recently, Cue has been posting Foursquare check-ins on his Twitter account.

Foursquare Launches Promoted Updates; Focused on Monetization

Taking a cue from Facebook’s Sponsored Posts, and Twitter’s Promoted Tweets, Foursquare has launched Promoted Updates, yet another shot by the leader in the hyperlocal-social space to monetize its user base and generate revenue.

Promoted Updates work similar to Twitter’s Promoted Tweets. They are displayed on the top of Foursquare’s Explore tab on its mobile app, and are probably pay-per-action ad units, which clearly demonstrate ROI for the advertiser.

Promoted Updates are currently available only to select advertisers as part of a pilot program. They are essentially a paid version of Local Updates, which enables merchants to reach out to users in the vicinity.

They will be targeted using the user’s location and their check-ins, tips, likes and lists. The targeting will be done using Foursquare’s Explore Engine, which will ensure that all promotions are relevant.

While Foursquare has much fewer users than Twitter or Facebook, it has the capability to directly drive sales in a much more efficient way, which makes its user base all the more monetizable.

Foursquare’s Product Manager, Noah Weiss, said:

“This is the first time ever that we’re allowing businesses to pay to promote their business in Foursquare. It’s obviously a very exciting milestone for us.

Dennis (Crowley, Foursquare’s CEO) has always said that we’ll do it when we’re ready, and we’ll do it in a way that we think makes for a better experience for users. The timing now feels right … the product is in a place where it makes a lot of sense for merchants who want to drive customers into their stores and for users who are looking for inspiration about something to try out.”

via VentureBeat

Windows Phone Gets Foursquare Menus Before iOS [4th & Mayor Updated]

Last week I wrote about how Foursquare is now expanding and setting itself to compete with Yelp. The Foursquare Explore and restaurant menus features introduced to the web (and subsequently to the Android app) is quite promising.

When Foursquare introduced the restaurant menu feature for Android, I cringed. There was a voice deep down within me that said, “Oh well, WP7 won’t be getting any love soon.” But to my surprise, 4th & Mayor released an update yesterday that brings menus to Windows Phone 7. Within a week of opening push notifications to users with v3.1, 4th & Mayor v3.2 adds restaurant menus & checkins using QR codes.

While Foursquare has an official app for Windows Phone 7, the app isn’t as good as the widely popular 4th & Mayor. The developer behind 4th & Mayor is Jeff Wilcox, a senior developer at Microsoft. For a brief period, Foursquare directed users to 4th & Mayor as the official client. In my opinion, 4th and Mayor is one of the best apps on the platform and probably a superior Foursquare client on any mobile platform.

Timely updates to apps with new features and more apps is what Windows Phone needs.

Foursquare Going Beyond Check-ins, Aims To Replace Yelp & The Likes

I love Foursquare. be it checking into a place and sharing it on Facebook or be it the competition to be a mayor—it’s simply fun to tag where I was. Foursquare is also one of the poster-boys of successful web-startups. What makes Foursquare a lot more interesting is that it isn’t from the Valley but from New York City, the city is trying to attract startups; Facebook recently opened a major engineering center too.

Not long ago, Foursquare introduced a feature called Foursquare Explore to their mobile applications for users to find places they can visit around their current location. Categorized locations according to activities have been quite handy—from finding Indian restaurants to hookah bars—you can get useful suggestions. The feature was available only via the phone apps until Foursquare added it to their website. Their intentions were clear—Foursquare was expanding. No more just a casual app limited to tech enthusiasts with smart phones, Foursquare was gunning for services like Yelp, AroundMe etc. Foursquare is leveraging their self-populating database of photographs, tips and categorized locations, to give users better options. Then there are specials for loyal & new customers!

With Foursquare Explore for the web, the company is also offering restaurant menus on the website. (For example.) AboutFoursquare is reporting that the feature is now available in Foursquare’s Android app, iOS should follow soon. For a company that was being considered as a victim of Facebook Places, beat Facebook and is ready to take-down some major players in location services. A new swanky office, a product constantly evolving for the better, Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai are kicking ass!

via About Foursquare (Restaurant Menus) & (Menus in Android app)

Foursquare for Windows Phone 7 Gets a Nice Update

Foursquare has had a rough ride on Windows Phone 7 platform. Microsoft developed a Foursquare app at the launch of Windows Phone 7, but Foursquare didn’t show any interest in taking this forward. Meanwhile, Jeff Wilcox, a Microsoft employee, developed another Foursqure app 4th & Mayor which many claim to be superior than the official app. It indeed is faster and has a slew of extra features than the official app.

Earlier this week, Foursquare’s competitor in the location-based social networking space, Gowalla, launched their Windows Phone 7 app. The initial release looks great and provides all of Gowalla’s features in a nice user interface. It also offers an exclusive feature,  browsing nearby photos on a Bing map.

Foursquare - VenueFoursquare - BadgesFoursquare - MeFoursquare - Photos

Just about when Gowalla was stealing the thunder in the space, Foursquare released v2.0 yesterday. The latest refresh is a vibrant looking complete overhaul of their Windows Phone 7 app. It features a nice UI with exhaustive features to explore places and view check-in history and leaderboard. Foursquare for Windows Phone 7 is available for free. Interestingly, since the app is now published by Foursquare, it installs separately, and does not update the previously installed Foursquare app.

I wrote a comprehensive post on Gowalla and Foursquare and the location-based social networking space on Windows Phone 7 including Facebook Places.

Foursquare got the first dibs in location-based social network (for me, and most of my friends), and I’m sticking with it for some more months. If you’ve been a Gowalla user, the app gives you plenty of reasons to stay with the service. Let’s see how the apps are updated for the Mango release later this year, and this competition will be interesting to watch.

I’m a long-time Foursquare user, and the latest update to Foursquare app for Windows Phone 7 keeps me from changing loyalties.

Gowalla vs. Foursquare on Windows Phone 7

After Skype; Linkedin, Foursquare and Netflix Join the Android Personal Data Leak Club

Remember how Android vulnerabilities were making news every morning a few months ago? Remember how Skype stored personal data in a plaintext format and it was all left out there in your phone’s SD card storage to be accessed by anyone? Well, the vulnerability is revisited. Just that it is not Skype this time. There are a number of apps that do the same mistakes and Netflix, Foursquare and Linkedin just joined the hall of shame.
Clearly, these mobile apps are not interested in the security and privacy of their users. This is like your OS storing login password in a text file. How would that feel? The vulnerability has been discovered by  viaForensics but it seems like this is becoming a trend with Android apps. There must be many more apps that do the same. It is only time before they are discovered.

The best thing about these things is that the moment they break out, fixes are released and things are better. However, if undiscovered, they just lay there.

Now, data theft is still better than password theft and the very nature of using the same login details everywhere is a huge risk for Android users of any of these services.

If you are a service oriented business, people understand that data is important for you to function properly. Their only privacy concerns is what exactly you are doing with this data and mishaps like these simply validate the paranoid people have with privacy. Companies have to start taking user data seriously and handle it with utmost care.

Here’s How Square/Google Wallet Will Put Foursquare Out of Business

Foursquare, a darling startup of everyone, might have raised a lot of money and might have an unusually handsome co-founder. But if you followed Techcrunch disrupt NYC, this year, when Michael Arrington questioned Dennis Crowley about the revenue foursquare is generating, he did not wish to answer.



Now at a platform like Techcrunch disrupt, who wouldn’t want to brag? It’s either they are making tons of money or they are making nothing. Nada. In my opinion it’s the later one. Now while the whole checking in funda is cool and was fun while it lasted (I’m already suffering from check-in fatigue), foursquare doesn’t really have a business model except for tying up with businesses for offering returning customers some offers.

But how would Square/Google Wallet take away Foursquare’s business you ask?

Here’s how. Square, a nice nifty startup launched to manage payments is soon gaining a lot of attention mostly because of one of it’s co founder Jack Dorsey. Jack Dorsey was also one of the key member behind Twitter. But that’s not the only reason why Square is getting a lot of attention. It’s because the startup he built is damn useful.
Managing your payments in digitalised format for customers and retailers is something I’ve always dreamt about. Square makes it possible. But that’s not all. Here’s why Square is above Foursquare and will steal the main revenue making possibility from Foursquare. Square can track user spending’s at stores even without them having to check-in. Besides that, Square will also take care that the customer doesn’t just checks-in but also spend money in order to get future loyalty rewards. It’s a win-win situation   for both customers and retailers.

Foursquare, in my opinion would have to start looking at something different to generate revenue or should have exited when chance had arrived.

Google also recently announced their ambitious project – Google Wallet. Google Wallet is an open platform that will allow you to use credit cards, coupons, store loyalty cards, etc without actually swiping each card. Again something similar to Square. Here again Google can do everything what Square can do, that is, collecting data. And considering Google has tons of other products that users can link via their Google profile, Google has an advantage over Square. But nonetheless, it’s going to steal whatever business model Foursquare had in mind if they Google seems serious about expanding   their   Local and Social reach.

Either Foursquare needs to quickly find a new way to generate the revenue or stay stubborn and die the the internet death. It would be sad to see the yet another brilliant startup die a Digg like death where it couldn’t innovate and adapt with the competition.

Microsoft Engineers Set WP7 App Coding Benchmarks Pretty High

Windows Phone 7 right now has close to 16,200 applications in the marketplace. According to mobile apps watcher Distimo, at the current growth rate, the WP7 marketplace will have more apps than BlackBerry and Nokia’s app stores in less than a year of launch. When WP7 launched, it came with apps that early adotpers would ask for, namely:

  • Foursquare
  • Twitter
  • Facebook

These apps were borderline decent with basic functions. The first version of Facebook did not have Places, Foursquare’s app was not updated to include Foursquare 3.0 features. However, developers within Microsoft who used these services and  realized  that the development platform for WP7 could implement the missing features took matters in their own hands. As a result we have two beautiful apps that leverage WP7 and the service APIs for feature-rich apps.

Rowi (Twitter client):

Developed by @HumanCompiler and @heskew, Rowi has a paid and free version. The free version is better than the official WP7 twitter app, it has ads though. The paid version ($2.99) includes  push notifications, linked images in tweet and live tile  notifications.

The subtle features in the app are what I love the most. If your WP7 has the dark theme, the starting animation for the app fades into black from white or vice versa if the phone’s theme is white. The app uses the accent color for the tile, twitter handles and the nice upward pointing arrow to show availability of new tweets.

Earlier this week Rowi and the MetroTwit team announced that they will be offering a cloud based sync between the two applications. MetroTwit is a popular Windows PC twitter client that’s designed based on the Metro principles.


4th & Mayor (Foursquare client):

A few days back the official Foursquare client for WP7 was removed and users were redirected to @jeffwilcox’s 4th & Mayor. A stamp of validation for the app that it is indeed the best Foursquare client for WP7 as of now. The first run for the application has a gorgeous animation which disappointingly can’t be revisited. The application has all features available in the official Foursquare iPhone application including:

  • Uploading venue photos
  • Explore
  • Specials
  • Commenting on check ins
  • Adding tips


The  developers  for both apps have done an amazing job on designing around the Metro theme, showcased the developer tools capabilities and made use of WP7 capabilities. Hoepfully, more developers work on coming up with applications equally good.

PS: Websites for both these applications are well designed as well.

Android And iOS To Get Foursquare 3.0 Tonight

Foursquare, the location-based social network, is set to be bumped up to version 3 soon. Foursquare was first conceived and built under the project Dodgeballwhich was purchased by Google and replaced with their Latitude service. This week marks the 2 year anniversary since the launch of Foursquare at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.

The new updates to Foursquare allow for a much richer experience with the use of a recommendation engine. It allows users to search for a place and be provided back with aggregated results combining previously checked-in places, places friends have checked into as well as popular and similar places. The leaderboard feature has been updated, providing users with more information on points, badges and statuses. Badges were one of the major cornerstones to the progression and wide spread adoption of Foursquare. It created real-life rivalry and competition to gain badges and attain mayorstatus of a location. Often times retailers would provide discounts to mayors of stores.

Another unique addition to the service is the for retailers to reward and attract consumers with specials. Check-in specials, swarm specials (large amounts of check-ins), friend specials (for groups of friends), loyalty check-ins (for regular users), newbie specials (new check-ins), mayor and flash specials. These can be used to entice potential customers as well as reward existing customer loyalty.

A new Foursquare client is set to be rolled out to iOS and Android devices later this evening. BlackBerry, Symbian and Windows Phone 7 updates are to come at a later unspecified date. See below for more screenshots of the features.

Foursquare Adds Photos and Comments To Its iPhone App

Foursquare is the most popular location based social networking tool, and now it just got better. Foursquare now lets you attach photos to your Checkins, in fact, when you checkin anywhere with your iPhone app now, you’ll be prompted to add photos of that place. Photos can also be attached to tips and venues. Once you have checked in, you can continue to add more photos to your checkin detail page.

Another big feature Foursquare just rolled out is the ability for your friends to post comments on your Checkins. Photos that you upload are visible to your Foursquare friends and your friends at other permitted social networks like Facebook and Twitter, your comments however are only visible to your Foursquare friends. You can also view these photos and comments related to your past checkins on your History page anytime.

With everybody and their grandma creating a social networking service, Foursquare has made the right move to let their service be more interactive with these two features. This will give Foursquare a powerful boost with increased activity and definitely better loyalty of users. These features will also be rolled out to the Android app within next few days and to the Blackberry app early next year.