Foursquare has just made an update to the app that allows new users to onboard without creating an account, finally allowing the app to be used as a discovery-first tool.
The new Foursquare no longer needs users to have accounts to be useful or secure. The new Foursquare ditches the check-in and focuses more on offering perfect, personalized recommendations. It competes directly with Yelp, but offers a far more beautiful interface and the opportunity to add preferences and social integration so that users get customized suggestions.
However, in order to offer that personalized content, Foursquare was forcing users to sign up for an account through a relatively tedious on-boarding process. Users were asked to integrate social feeds as well as input taste preferences (for pizza, or milkshakes, or vegan food) before they were given location-based recommendations.
Under the new system, both the social integration and the customization layer can be skipped, sending new users directly to content they can use in the moment. At any time, of course, users can add preferences (by simply clicking on the item or category) and link up their social accounts for friend recommendations.
This should remove some friction for new users. But why now?
Foursquare product manager Jonathan Crowley said that it was a difficult and challenging engineering task to take on, given the framework of the existing system.
Foursquare and Swarm combined have more than 55 million accounts created, and that doesn’t account for traffic on Foursquare.com.
The app is available on Android and Windows Phone and the update is currently rolling out to devices on iOS.