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New Foursquare App Makes Better Recommendations

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After weeks of teasing, the new Foursquare is now available in the App Store and Google Play. The new app focuses heavily on photos and recommendations.

Foursquare users will first notice the new timeline when they launch the app. The new timeline looks fairly similar to the new mobile Facebook and Google+ layouts, and puts a lot of attention on photos. The bottom menu bar now only has three options: Friends, Explore, and the user’s profile. The check-in button is now persistently in the top-right corner, making it easier to reach.

While the new interface is nice, the big new feature in the new Foursquare is the recommendations. The new app is able to make recommendations to users based on the time of day, what their friends are doing, what other people in the area are talking about, and the user’s history.

The app also has a new metric to help figure out what locations to recommend. Users can now like or dislike locations by marking them with a heart or broken heart. With that Foursquare can find out what locations users actually like as opposed to the locations they’re just checking into.

When talking to The Verge, Foursquare Head of Search Andrew Hogue explained that Foursquare “can use map data to define neighborhoods and see trends within those neighborhoods from users.” If a particular type of food or restaurant is popular in a neighborhood, the app might point users there.

It will even be able to break down the recommendations based on where users live. That way, locals can see the trendy places in neighborhoods while visitors will see more of the tourist areas instead.

Using its check-in data Foursquare was able to find out a number of interesting facts that it can use for recommendations. For example, the company knows that for every 2 degrees the temperature rises in New York City, check-ins to ice cream shops increase by 2 percent. With that, Foursquare knows when New Yorkers are more likely to want ice cream. Granted, most people will know when they want ice cream for themselves, but the new Foursquare app can help them find the best ice cream shop in the area when they do want some.

Shawn is a tech junkie who spends most of his time reading and writing about it. You can follow him on Twitter, @shawn_i.

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