Foursquare Explores Social Search

Allison Howen
by Allison Howen 13 Jan, 2012

Foursquare wants its users to explore.


The location-based company launched an "explore" feature for smartphones last March, and the feature has now migrated to desktops, which allows users to discover new places based on other users' recommendations and check-ins.


The Explore option can be thought of as Foursquare's first go-round at social search.


"Most real-world searches are one-size fits all. You search for pizza, and it gives you the same list of pizza places, whether you like deep dish or thin crust, whether you want a slice or a sit-down meal, or whether your friends would love it or hate it," says the company's blog. "But not with Foursquare Explore, because you and your friends' check-ins (along with the 1,500,000,000 more from the foursquare community) help us personalize our recommendations for you. Every time you check in, we get better at finding places you'll like."


This social search option is personalized and specific. For example, if someone types in "thin crust" they won't just get results for pizza places, but instead specific results will appear for restaurants with thin crust pizza. Additionally, users can type in adjectives such as "fun" or "romantic", to find spots to their liking. Users can also specify certain options when typing in a keyword, which filters places that the user hasn't been to, has been to, their friends have been to, or places that have Foursquare specials.


The service is powered by 1,500,000,000 check-ins, tens of millions of Tips and over a half million lists. The service should prove to be especially useful to local businesses, since all of the searches are tailored to local results - unless specified for a different city.