Foursquare will be updating its iOS app to version 6.0 later today, expanding its emphasis on search and location-based recommendations.
The Explore section, which used to be hidden in its own separate tab at the bottom of the screen, is now right at the forefront of the overall app experience.
The Foursquare logo has vanished from the homescreen, for instance and replaced with a universal search bar for looking up nearby businesses, addresses, or types of check-in locations.
Rather than tapping the magnifying glass icon, which brought up a full, expanded search area before, the new Foursquare app offers a text box straight away. This has been bolstered with an improved auto-complete engine, which should serve up results and suggestions much faster than before.
The friends feed, meanwhile, has been given a similar Spring clean. This part of the app was never bad, by any means, but it did tend to fill up with rather plain, grey text boxes to denote check-ins.
In version 6.0, Foursquare has done well to combine this information with a list of recommendations, popular and trending places, and information based on other users that are nearby. Rather than simply documented what has happened in the last day, week or month, the friend feed is now an accurate depiction of what is occurring right now.
It’s a welcome improvement, shifting some of the more obscure features which used to live in the profile tab to a side bar hidden on the left-hand edge of the screen.
Today’s update is proof that Foursquare’s future lies in accurate and useful recommendations, rather than simple badge-collecting. A robust search suite is crucial for helping users discover new places and this update, while minimal on the surface, has some performance tweaks that will surely impress.
It follows an update to the iOS app last month, which introduced a quick check-in feature for users who don’t want to hang around typing in superfluous information. Tap and hold the check-in icon, and Foursquare will log their location almost instantaneously. Simple.
Foursquare continues to battle Facebook’s Nearby feature, a similar check-in service integrated with the social network’s popular mobile apps, and long-time rival Yelp. With each update Foursquare feels like the more robust and useful option, however, which should see the service continue to grow in the coming months.
Version 6.0 hasn’t hit the App Store just yet, but it’s set to land later this morning. So keep your eyes peeled, folks.
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