Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Foursquare Thursday – Exploring new places

Rowntrees Park

When Christine went on our little break last week, I decided to use Foursquare for a little more than simply recording where I’d been to get points and badges. The ‘Explore’ feature (which as of today is also available on the foursquare.com web site) also lets you find places to go, and so we tried this out a couple of times.

It uses checkin data to work out which venues are popular, but also shows you the tips for that venue. In both cases, it actually suggested some really good places – The Gilded Lily in Carlisle and the Stateside Diner in Newcastle – neither of which would we have gone to had we not known about them. The Stateside Diner in particular looked like a greasy spoon cafĂ© from the outside but actually did really nice food with a 1950s American diner theme going on. Had it not been for Foursquare we’d have probably played it safe and gone somewhere boring like Nando’s.

Last week, Anil Dash tweeted that living entirely off recommendations from Foursquare Explore “…Would make a decent Tumblr, and probably earn a book deal.“. I’m not quite ready to go that far but I’m pleased with its suggestions thus far.

The other thing we used Foursquare for was directions. Generally I’ve found that the locations of places on Foursquare are more accurate than on Google Maps, so by searching for it, and then following through to venue details and then hitting the directions button, the Maps app on my iPhone launched with a route planned out for me. Then, when I got there, I just had to re-open Foursquare, tab back a couple of screens and check in.

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