Foursquare is now a recommendations app. It initially won popularity for its location-based check-ins, but users began checking out once Facebook and Twitter rolled out their own check-in tools. Foursquare's check-in feature moved to new sister app, Swarm, and Foursquare has been reinvented as a crowdsourced recommendation app like Yelp. What sets Foursquare apart: Recommendations are based on your and your friends' tastes.
Your tastes: The new Foursquare is all about your tastes. Click the Foursquare icon and select your favorite items, moods, and locations from the myriad options, such as roast beef, romantic spots, dive bars, zoos, and sunsets. Foursquare uses these tastes to suggest places to explore.
Intuitive: Foursquare offers appropriate suggestions for the time of day. If you log in in the morning, you automatically get breakfast suggestions, and in the evening you see dinner and nightlife options. Swipe right to move through headings for Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Coffee, Dinner, Dessert, Nightlife, Shopping, Fun, and Sights. Scroll down through Foursquare's suggestions based on your proximity and tastes, as well as the tastes of your friends.
Customizable: If you're looking for a restaurant or boutique in a different location, tell Foursquare which area you're looking to explore.
More visual: One of the original Foursquare's greatest drawbacks was its lack of enticing visuals. The new Foursquare has many more photos from local businesses to decorate your screen and whet your appetite.
Check-ins: You can still check in to your favorite places directly from the app.
Distasteful recommendations: Foursquare's recommendations algorithm is not perfect. For example, if you click vegetarian or vegan items under Tastes, Foursquare should display only those options. Unfortunately, during testing the app kept showing us recommendations for hamburger joints or the best bacon and eggs, along with plant-based fare.
Quantity over quality in recommendations: Just because a business is highly rated by a bunch of strangers or even your friends does not mean that you're going to enjoy your experience there.
Expertise: Users are encouraged to leave tips about businesses to gain "expertise" in those areas. So, if you leave a lot of tips about sushi restaurants, Foursquare soon regards you as the maki master. But as we know, just because you're talking a lot doesn't mean you're making sense.
Tips glitches: The Tips section is a little confusing. The Staff Picks subsection should include Foursquare employee picks. Instead, it lists selections from a variety of businesses and media organizations, and some of these picks appear to be plugs and announcements rather than objective recommendations. The Following section showed us our own tips rather than those of individuals we're following. Your Tastes and Popular both show users what others are saying about the businesses near them, so those subsections should probably be combined under one heading.
Foursquare 8.0 brings a lot of wonderful new features to the once-stale check-in app, including Tastes and a more enticing, photo-driven interface. However, Foursquare's recommendations algorithm is not up to the mark, often showing inappropriate suggestions, and still relying too heavily on crowdsourced tips that may not serve users well.