Foursquare City Guide

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The Foursquare City Guide is a discovery and local search application for mobile devices that offers suggestions for local eateries, attractions, and adventures based on the user’s current location. This application boasts features such as location-based search and suggestions, expert advice and tips, taste preferences, location tracking, and user ratings. Users can advance and contribute by attaining a Superuser status, which enables them to modify venue details and make valuable edits. Foursquare also monetizes through collaborations with businesses that generate pages of advice, and via promoted updates. The functionality of the app has developed over time, with check-ins and location sharing now being transferred to Foursquare Swarm. Despite facing issues related to privacy, Foursquare has implemented measures to resolve these concerns and has partnered with entities like Microsoft to improve user privacy.

Foursquare City Guide, commonly known as Foursquare, is a local search-and-discovery mobile app developed by Foursquare Labs Inc. The app provides personalized recommendations of places to go near a user's current location based on users' previous browsing history and check-in history.

Foursquare City Guide
Type of businessPrivate
Type of site
Local search, recommender system
Available inEnglish, German, French, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai, Turkish
FoundedNew York City, New York, U.S.
New York City
United States
Area servedWorldwide
OwnerFoursquare Labs
Founder(s)Dennis Crowley
Naveen Selvadurai
Key peopleDennis Crowley
Naveen Selvadurai
Users50 million
LaunchedMarch 11, 2009; 15 years ago (2009-03-11)
Current statusActive

The service was created in late 2008 by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai and launched in 2009. Crowley had previously founded the similar project Dodgeball as his graduate thesis project in the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at New York University. Google bought Dodgeball in 2005 and shut it down in 2009, replacing it with Google Latitude. Dodgeball user interactions were based on SMS technology, rather than an application. Foursquare was similar but allowed for more features, allowing mobile device users to interact with their environment. Foursquare took advantage of new smartphones like the iPhone, which had built-in GPS to better detect a user's location.

Until late July 2014, Foursquare featured a social networking layer that enabled a user to share their location with friends, via the "check in" - a user would manually tell the application when they were at a particular location using a mobile website, text messaging, or a device-specific application by selecting from a list of venues the application locates nearby. In May 2014, the company launched Swarm, a companion app to Foursquare City Guide, that reimagined the social networking and location sharing aspects of the service as a separate application. On August 7, 2014, the company launched Foursquare 8.0, a new version of the service. This version removed the check-in feature and location sharing, instead focusing on local search.

In 2011, user demographics showed a roughly equal split between male and female user accounts, with 50 percent of users registered outside of the US. Most recent statistics show Foursquare with approximately 55 million monthly active users.

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