Earlier today, Foursquare announced and released the #allnew4sq. You can read all about the many and vast improvements on their blog post.
Short version: It’s awesome.
A day into using it, I agree that new Foursquare is a significant improvement in a lot of ways. There’s always been a lot more data than check-ins flowing through Foursquare, but much of it was hidden behind layers of UI. Now those layers have been peeled away.
Over the past several months as I’ve been traveling quite a bit, I’ve come to fully appreciate the power of Foursquare Explore. It’s a recommendation engine for the real world that works. Yes, it works best in New York City which has the most data, but it’s great in other cities as well. It’s now front and center in the new app, as it should be.
The biggest complaint I’m seeing within my social graph is the removal of the local people view. I miss this too, but it’s important to remember that most users probably don’t have hundreds of friends, thus necessitating a separate area for this. With the new universal feed, Foursquare will seem a lot more lively to people who only have a half dozen friends on the service.
Foursquare (from CEO Dennis Crowley on down) is actively listening to all the feedback, and they’re clearly thinking about the local issue for power/legacy users. My suggestion would be a new filter in the Explore map area to show “Friends”. The map actually somewhat does this automatically (mixing friends’ avatars with selected types of places nearby), but only for friends very close by. I’d love to see where everyone is in San Francisco when I’m there, or New York when I’m there.
In the old version of Foursquare, I came to love the check-in map view for this reason (as opposed to the standard reverse-chron timeline of check-ins). Looking at a map gives you instant location context in a way that a list can’t.
That’s my only critique/feature request. Everything else seems brilliant.
Disclosure: CrunchFund is an investor in Foursquare specifically because I was hoping (but didn’t know for sure) this type of app was coming.