Still not convinced that Foursquare wants to be more than a check-in game with points and badges?
Today the company launched the latest of several search features that continue to position Foursquare firmly as a formal local search engine: a fully searchable history page where users can review their entire check-in history, including photos, tips and who else was there.
The history page offers a date-based dropdown, plus filters to narrow results by location, who else was there and business category.
It’s fair to question when or why anyone would want to return to an old check-in, but here’s a piece of anecdotal evidence to show one way this tool is valuable: I was up in Spokane a couple weeks ago and a friend was telling me about a great Mexican restaurant he’d eaten at in my hometown. He couldn’t recall the name, but he did remember checking in on Facebook. After browsing through his Timeline, he came up with the place. And now I’m making plans to try it out myself.
Foursquare’s moves in local search have been interesting to watch. Back in December, the company hired a former Google senior engineer to boost its local search smarts. About a month later, Foursquare launched its Explore search tool on Foursquare.com and effectively became a true local search engine at that point. They’ve added restaurant menus and partnered with Open Table to enable making reservations from Foursquare’s website. For business owners, Foursquare has also launched an express verification tool that gives access to Foursquare’s business tools immediately. (Verification by mail can take several weeks.)
What the final result of all this will be is anyone’s guess. It may just be positioning Foursquare as a more attractive buyout option for a bigger player. But, in the meantime, it’s intriguing to watch the speed and commitment with which the company is moving into local search.
Last month, Foursquare announced that it had 35 million places in its location database, and that its users had checked-in more than two billion times.