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Friday, 30 August 2013
Foursquare Is Getting Smarter Every Day, Now Adding Background Notifications
If you told me that you'd never heard of Foursquare, I'd call you a liar. We've all see the cross-posts from Foursquare on Twitter and Facebook. I'd find it hard to believe that you had gone your entire life without seeing Foursquare notifications, but if you told me you didn't know what Foursquare was for, that I could believe. Foursquare, at it's heart, is a fairly straightforward location-based game. You check into whatever establishment you're at, you collect points, and you lord your obvious superiority over your friends and loved ones. You can leave tips about businesses on their foursquare pages, get discounts at stores and coffee shops, and see if any of your friends are nearby. By doing this, you're giving Foursquare something very valuable in return: data. Foursquare has grabbed an almost NSA level of stuff. Why, though? That's what it has just revealed.
In a blog post yesterday about Foursquare getting smarter, the company revealed that it will soon be activating an always-on, location aware system that notifies you when you're near a place that might be of interest. When you stop somewhere to grab a bite to eat, it will give you a handy notification telling you what dishes people recommend there. Foursquare is going to start offering a "sixth sense" tailored to you that will notify you proactively, preventing interruptions in your experience like searching. This isn't intended to be an automatic check-in, though. Foursquare just wants to selflessly give you nice suggestions over the course of the day.
Don't feel bad if that sounds a whole lot like Google Now to you. I agree. The main benefit of Foursquare's implementation would be the billions of customer-provided chunks of data making Foursquare a bit more intuitive with its suggestions. The main roadblock in making a service of this sort a hit is its toll on your battery. Foursquare says it has been working on that, the service only draws about 0.7% per hour. That's not too shabby at all.
Foursquare was pretty unclear in the post about when this is going to be available, but the post did say that it was released to "a few thousand" testers who use the service on Android. While I feel pretty safe in assuming these features will come as an actual Play Store update, the details are still anyone's guess. It may just be a feature laying dormant in the app right now that just needs the switch flipped. Either way, a few thousand testers today and the features will be rolling out to all Android users in the coming months. This may be a reason to start using the service again if you gave up on it.
You can download Foursquare for free in the Play Store now and kick back while you wait for the new features.