Moving Beyond The Check-In, Foursquare Introduces “Radar”

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The next update to Foursquare’s iPhone app for iOS 5 will pester you even more about things to do nearby. The new feature is called Radar, and it pulls suggestions from FourSquare’s Explore feature. Depending on your location, it might suggest a nearby restaurant, or remind you that the coffee shop on your to-do list is nearby. It will also tell you when your friends are meeting nearby.

Radar pulls in Explore suggestions nearby and sends them to you as notifications so you get them even if the app is closed. Foursquare has to be really careful here. If the Radar suggestions are helpful and get people to do actually explore their cities, it will be a big hit. But if the suggestions aren’t that good, the notifications will just become annoying and people will turn them off.

Foursquare is making a big effort to move beyond the check-in as the main way users interact with the service. The idea has always been that check-ins would lead to other actions and ways to discover the places where people live and visit. Foursquare already moved in this direction with its Explore algorithm, which offers up suggestions of places to eat and things to do nearby. Now those suggestions will become even more front and center through Radar’s notifications. It also sounds like Radar will include other types of geo-based notifications as well.

Foursquare is also tweaking its logo. Gone is the purple Foursquare ball, replaced by a green one. (That purple was a bit too Yahoo for my tastes anyway). And the checkmark is a little more angled outward.