This morning, Foursquare launched an updated version of its “Explore” feature for both its iPhone and Android applications. The new version brings over several of the features already available through Foursquare on the web, including filters, photos in search results and the ability to change your location.
After updating your mobile app, you’ll see the improvements in the “Explore,” section, Foursquare’s local guide which is augmented by your friends’ recommendations and visits as well as other Foursquare users’ tips and comments. Like a mini local search engine, you can search for venues by category (“coffee,” “nightlife”), name, or even something very specific, like what food you’re in the mood for (“tuna,” “burgers”). You can also tap “Specials” to see just those venues offering check-in or mayor discounts.
Starting today, you’ll now be able to use the new filter button (at the top right on iOS or bottom right on Android) to narrow your search results by options like “New to me,” places you’ve already been, “Both,” or, alternatively, you can choose to see those places your friends have tried.
You can also use Explore to find recommended places in areas outside your current location, as determined by your phone’s GPS. You can either type in a location or drag the map around, then pinch or tap to zoom into new neighborhoods.
Although still sometimes overlooked by those who just use Foursquare as a checkin service/social network, Explore represents a key new direction for the location-based startup. The idea, as Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley explained last month when Explore arrived on the web, is to try to “make local search much smarter…it’s based off what you and your friends actually do, where you go and when you go.”
And, for obvious reasons, local search is much smarter when you can actually use it while on the go. The new Foursquare apps are out now, check the appropriate app store for the update.