What Foursquare Was Up to on Their Summer Vacation

(from flickr user cambodia4kidsorg)

While the rest of us were checking-in to our favorite beaches and bars, the team over at Foursquare has been forfeiting their mayorships this summer to push out an impressive amount of exciting new features and updates just in time for the fall.

It’s no surprise Foursquare has been in overdrive mode — they’ve been able to boast a number of achievements throughout the summer. Back in June, they announced 10 million users and 500,000 registered businesses by early July. Holy smokes!

Those numbers seemed to be a pretty good endorsement, especially after the Obama administration joined Foursquare in August citing those figures and promising to make some very presidential check-ins.

So what does this great new era of check-ins mean for you? Let’s lay it out for you:

1. Better apps for your smartphone

Foursquare has improved the design and layout of its app for iPhone and Android users. You will notice a faster, more intuitive experience including a new notification tray that keeps track of all your interactions with friends and foes, similar to Facebook’s notifications.

Additionally, Foursquare has enhanced itself socially and visually by integrating photos and shouts to your stream of friends’ check-ins.

Last but not least, Foursquare has finally integrated its service with BlackBerry’s BBM service. This new update allows BlackBerry users to share their photos, badges, and more with friends using BBM.

2. Follow more of your favorite brands and businesses

Citing the extensive work it took to build pages for individual partners. Foursquare has opened the floodgates for any brand, organization, or publication to create their own pages with a new self-serve page-builder tool.

Now any and every business can create their own page where fans and friends can follow their favorite businesses as they leave tips and check-ins at venues. There are currently over 3,000 various pages that you can follow.

3. Check out deals when you check-in

Since mid-July, Foursquare has beefed up its specials feature with the introduction of deals. By partnering with numerous companies including LivingSocial, Gilt City, and most recently, Groupon, users can find and purchase discounts and special offers without leaving the Foursquare app.

Just like specials, users can easily find what venues are offering deals while browsing. Additionally, by using the explore tab, users will get personalized recommendations on specials happening in their city that they might be interested in.

4. Share and follow favorite places with lists

“Dude you’ve got to check out this one place” is older than the Internet and now Foursquare enables users to become hometown or touring travel gurus with the addition of lists.

Know the best bars around Manhattan or the top ten things everyone should do in Paris? You can now create and share lists of Foursquare venues to show your expertise with your friends.

In addition to making your own, users can follow, browse and invite others to collaborate on lists. Business pages can get in on the fun too by making their own — I’m personally putting the Travel Channel’s Man v Food Nation one on my bucket list.

5. Events make check-ins even more personalized

Sometimes a check-in is more than just a venue — it’s about why you’re there. That’s why Foursquare has taken check-ins to the next level with events.

Now you can check-in to movies, sports events and concerts. So instead of leaving an “at the Deadmau5 show!” shout at a House of Blues check-in, users can check into the actual Deadmau5 show instead.

To make events possible, Foursquare has partnered with ESPN for sports events, MovieTickets.com for movies and SongKick for concerts. What’s even more fun about the partnerships is that events will include richer information like show times and summaries or which team has been on a winning streak.

6. Even more badges!

Throughout the summer, Foursquare has been running some intriguing badge campaigns with a number of major partners including MTV, Pepsi and ESPN.

What’s even cooler is that Foursquare has expanded its Foursquare for Universities program to let colleges and universities create custom badges for their students on campus at no cost. Students can also sign up to become campus ambassadors at their schools.

Foursquare currently has 15 colleges ready for the launch with “a lot more on the way.”

In summary, Foursquare has emerged from the summer season with a serious new depth to its check-ins and social orientation. More importantly, Foursquare’s new partnerships have put the company in a previously unseen lucrative position. With the school year back in full swing, the Foursquare team is off to a good start and hopefully with even more updates soon to come.

Hiroki Murakami I'm the Community Manager of The Next Great Generation and Mullen's busiest intern. Emerson College marketing and entrepreneurship student graduating this May. I'm a Seattle native studying in Boston, working with startups, and your local coffee shop's #1 customer. Drop me a line at @hnmurakami.

View all posts by Hiroki Murakami

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