Earlier this month, the location-based social network Foursquare revealed that it had raised a $1.35 million seed round of funding. Almost immediately, they used the money to purchase an important domain for them: foursquare .com (previously, they were found at playfoursquare.com). Today, they revealed another project that the money is being used for: A redesign.
A new homepage went live today with a significantly improved look and feel. While the graphics have been prettied up, the main new feature is a constantly moving river of updates from the service. This includes when users write tips for venues, unlock badges, and become the mayors of places. There are also prominent links to its iPhone and Android apps (along with the mobile web version for other phones), and a link for businesses to learn more about how they can utilize the service.
Foursquare used some of its funding to hire the design firm Hard Candy Shell to create this new homepage, Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley confirmed to us (the two companies actually share office space in New York City). But this is just the beginning of Foursquare’s redesign plans.
Currently, there is no way for users to really interact with the service through its website. You can see things like venues and user profiles, but there is no way to check-in a place, the main function of the site. That should soon change. When I asked Crowley if this new design was part of a larger effort to turn foursquare.com into a usable web app, he replied that “it’s all in the works.”
Of course, the mobile apps will continue to be the focus (aside from the iPhone and Android apps, versions for Blackberry and Windows Mobile should be out soon), but Foursquare users will undoubtedly welcome news of a usable website. Previously, if you wanted to do something as simple as accept friends, it would require a full page reload, which was annoying. Now, features like this have been AJAXified, like a proper web app.
Currently, you’ll only see this new Foursquare homepage when you are logged out of the site.