Foursquare is a name which some of you may recognise and others may never have heard of. Reborn this year as a social discovery service based around a slick mobile app, this service is a great way to find new places to hang out around the world.
Making use of your smartphone’s GPS signal, Foursquare immediately locates you and suggests local spots across a range of categories: Breakfast, Lunch, Coffee, Dinner, Desert, Nightlife, Shopping, Fun and Sights – a fairly comprehensive offering. Foursquare presents a list of local establishments sorted by user-ratings, complete with reviews and feature lists.
Personalised to you
When you first load up Foursquare you are prompted to enter some of your interests and preferences (they’re really varied – I think mine include “steak”, “indian food” and “cheap”) so it can offer you a more personalised list of results where possible. While it’s tempting to skip this and just dive into the app itself, I thoroughly recommend adding in your “tastes” and continuing to do so every now and again to help Foursquare better understand what you’re into. On the whole, this feature works pretty well and always seems to find me what I’m looking for.
Right here, right now
I find myself routinely using Foursquare when I’m out and about in need of a good café to get some work done. Sure you could stroll around or ask a local, but Foursquare really comes into its own when you’re looking for a certain type of place. Looking for an establishment with wifi? – simply select wifi from the feature list to filter your results. Want to make sure a place is open, accepts credit cards or is a good spot for casual evening drinks? Again, simply check the options you’re interested in and the app will come back with a curated list just for you.
Once you’ve found a place you like, you’re given a list of reviews and tips submitted by other users. These often include things like a wifi password (so you don’t have to ask for it!) and food recommendations (so you end up with the tastiest dish!). Decided on somewhere? Foursquare shows you how far you are, complete with estimated walking and driving time. Finally, simply click the map to get directions and away you go!
Research in advance
In addition to spur-of-the-moment social discovery, you can use Foursquare to plan your trip from the comfort of your own home. Instead of using your current location you can simply ask Foursquare to locate places around a specific location of your choosing. Heading to London this weekend? Why not type Southbank into the location field and check out what it has to offer. Found something you like? Simply hit the save button to add a place to a custom list which you can go back to and review whenever you need. I like to keep track of my favourite spots (mainly so I can share recommendations with you guys!) so I find this function really useful.
Foursquare is a really simple concept, and one that works well. Moving on from its original roots as a simple check-in tool, the new Foursquare is a must have; an awesome app which I cannot recommend enough. Download it for free today!