Foursquare's New Site Design Starts To Roll Live As Gossip Girl Pays Homage — Well, Maybe

Since its launch almost exactly a year ago, Foursquare’s website has largely had the same basic design. Tonight, it looks like that’s finally getting updated.

While it looks like the update is still in the process of rolling out to all the pages, now clearly has new system-wide toolbars, a brand new sign-up page, as well as some new settings. You might also notice a new, name-only logo.

While it’s been clear for a while that Foursquare has been working on a site redesign, only in the past few days have signs started to show that it was coming. For example, a completely revamped History area showed up a few days ago, one allowing for venues to have categories as well as show which friends you checked-in with at places.

The biggest part of the changes currently rolling out is to the sign-up page. The new step-by-step process looks highly influenced by Twitter’s sign-up page (which they too tweaked a few times over the years). The process now allows you to sign up, easily find friends already using Foursquare via Twitter or Facebook Connect, as well as link up to those aforementioned networks. After you do that, there’s a one-page rundown of what you can do with Foursquare (such as download one of the mobile apps, earn badges, and explore cities).

These sign-up pages are important for convincing new users to not only sign up, but also showing them what to do. With Foursquare signing mainstream deals left and right, they’re going to need this.

Something else that appears to be new: an option in the setting page for  letting local businesses see that you have checked-in at their venue. When you click the link to learn more, it says:

We allow verified venue owners to see statistics about checkins at their venue. These stats include recent visitors, most frequent visitors and most popular checkin times. You can always opt out if you’d rather not share this data with the venues you visit.

Sadly, with the redesign, there is still no way to check-in from the site itself. You have to use one of the app, the mobile web, or text messaging to do that.

Speaking of mobile apps, Foursquare is about to launch a completely redesigned iPhone app as well. All of these moves are necessary if Foursquare is going to keep up with its better-designed rival, Gowalla (which also just revamped its website).

Something else interesting from tonight: apparently the concept of “checking-in” made its onscreen debut on the popular TV show Gossip Girl. Co-founder Dennis Crowley noted the move and tweeted out a picture of it captured from the show. While there is no specific mention of Foursquare, it seems obvious (at least to Crowley) what they’re paying homage to. And Foursquare actually has paid homage the other way, with its “Gossip Girl” badge.

The move towards the mainstream continues — or maybe Elizabeth Fisher was just actually checking-in to that hotel. Hard to know for sure.