The popular location-based app Foursquare is getting a big facelift and major revision sometime this week. It will include personalized maps and new discovery features to make it even more engaging for Internet-meets-real-life events.
Most of the new elements revealed so far will supplement the Explore tab. This leverages users check-ins to recommend places to go and deals nearby to broaden the experience. Explore entered the app in March of 2011 and is now a stand-alone app on desktops as of January.
Merchants will now be able to buy placement for their promotions, something that advertisers have been clamoring for in Foursquare for some time. Whether or not this will degrade the user experience is to be seen. Given the way it’s been explained to the press, though, it will likely be pretty obvious that what you’re seeing is an ad rather than a recommendation from friends.
Foursquare has been teasing the update for the past few days, sending tweets with images (like the one used here) showcasing some of the new abilities, but with few explanations to accompany them. They’re promoting the update through the hashtag #allnew4sq.
On Saturday, the tweets got a little more specific. Specific enough to give a time frame of “this week” anyway.
The company has largely been vague about the coming update, but enough information has leaked to show that it will be big, interesting, and may help propel the startup app (and buyout holdout) into a more active future.