Foursquare Uses Check-in Data to Deliver “The Next-Generation of Local Search”

The New Relic gang is in NYC for the Gigaom Structure Data conference this week, and we couldn’t be more proud to see our CEO Lew Cirne take the stage and tell the world about New Relic Insights. But it’s not just New Relic with the exciting news. There are a number of other speakers here at #gigaomlive giving interesting talks about their company’s latest innovations, one of which was Foursquare’s CEO and Co-founder Dennis Crowley.

In a session titled “2 years + 2 years + 2 years,” Crowley sat down with Gigaom Senior Writer Mathew Ingram to talk about Foursquare’s journey over the last six years and where he sees the company headed. “The goal of the company was not to make an awesome check-in button,” said Crowley. Rather, he and co-founder Naveen Selvadurai wanted to create a crowd-sourced, social map of the world; one that offers consumers personalized local search to help them find interesting places and experiences that they would otherwise miss.

Since the company first launched in March 2009, Foursquare has accumulated more than 45 million users and 5 billion check-ins. And with all those users and check-ins? Yep, you got it—a ton of valuable data.

From the places you and your friends have checked in, the recommendations or “tips” that you’ve left, to the popularity rankings of a particular place during the time of day or season, Foursquare has leveraged this diverse set of data to build a new version of the app that senses when you walk in or out of a particular neighborhood or location and pushes recommendations to you based on this location data. The result:  Users no longer have to ask Foursquare where they could go for lunch; instead, Foursquare will proactively recommend a good café around the corner, along with what to order (and heck, even the WiFi password).

As Crowley put it, Foursquare is using all of its check-in data to deliver the “next-generation of local search,” also calling out Google and Yelp as “not the way to do it.” He envisions a future version of the app that will automatically check you in via mobile device or wearable (including the Pebble Watch and Google Glass) as you enter a certain location.

“In a world filled with hundreds of thousands of places, how do we reveal the stuff that’s often buried beneath our radar?” said Crowley. “We want to give people the superpowers they need to find new places, objects, experience and friends that they otherwise wouldn’t know about.”  

Stay tuned for more news from Gigaom Structure Data and catch the full session video below…

Asami Novak is director of content strategy and development at New Relic. Prior to joining the New Relic team, she wrote marketing and ad copy for a variety of B2B and B2C companies. Her editorial writing has appeared in WIRED and Dwell, among other publications. View posts by .

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