Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley doesn’t think that you should have to open up a mobile app to interact with it. I caught up with Crowley a couple days ago at the Web 2.0 Summit, where he was a speaker. In the video interview above, he compares Foursquare’s newest feature called Radar to the Siri personal assistant on the new iPhone 4S. For Crowley, it’s all about getting mobile apps to push relevant information out to you at exactly the right place and time. “If you have a problem to solve with your phone, you don’t have to go to the search box.”
Radar taps into Foursquare’s Explore recommendations and pushes them out to you automatically via notifications. “What we have been doing with Radar is finding a way for people to use the app really without having to actually use it,” says Crowley. It runs Explore in the background, which tells you when you are near a place on your to-do list, where someone you know has left a tip, or where a lot of your friends are at that moment. Siri is similar in that it pushes out reminders and other information to you without you having to tap on the screen.
Radar takes advantage of Foursquare’s one billion check-ins and other data entered by its 10 million users to surface recommendations “Even a check-in is asking a lot of people,” says Crowley. “Now that we want to leverage all the data, what is the easiest possible on-boarding experience for the next 20M users?”
In part II of this interview, coming up, Crowley talks about how Radar fits into his overall strategy and plans to make money.