Foursquare, stylized as foursquare, is a location-based social networking website for mobile devices, such as smartphones. Users “check in” at venues using a mobile website, text messaging or a device-specific application by selecting from a list of venues the application locates nearby. Location is based on GPS hardware in the mobile device or network location provided by the application. Each check-in awards the user points and sometimes “badges”.
The service was created in 2009 by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai. Crowley had previously founded the similar project Dodgeball as his graduate thesis project in the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at New York University. Google bought Dodgeball in 2005 and shut it down in 2009, replacing it with Google Latitude. Dodgeball user interactions were based on SMS technology, rather than an application.
Foursquare is the second iteration of the same idea, that people can use mobile devices to interact with their environment. As of April 2012, the company reported it had 20 million registered users. The company was expected to pass 750 million check-ins before the end of June 2011, with an average of about 3 million check-ins per day. Male/female users are equally represented and also 50 percent of users are outside the US.Support for French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Japanese was added in February 2011. Support for Indonesian, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Thai was added in September 2011. Support for Turkish was added in June 2012.
Foursquare is a web and mobile application that allows registered users to post their location at a venue (“check-in”) and connect with friends. Check-in requires active user selection and points are awarded at check-in. As of April 2012, there have been more than 2 billion check-ins with Foursquare. Users are encouraged to be hyper-local and hyper-specific with their check-ins– one can check into a certain floor/area of a building, or indicate a specific activity while at a venue. Users can choose to have their check-ins posted on their accounts on Twitter, Facebook, or both. In version 1.3 of their iPhone application, foursquare enabled push-notification of friend updates, which they call “Pings”. Users can also earn badges by checking in at locations with certain tags, for check-in frequency, or for other patterns such as time of check-in.The company has stated that users will be able to add their own custom badges to the site in the future.
Users can create a “To Do” list for their private use and add “Tips” to venues that other users can read, which serve as suggestions for great things to do, see or eat at the location.
In addition, users can see where they have checked in with a history page. This function allows you to search past check-ins, which is broken down by month and year. A sidebar also allows you to search your check-ins by category or who you were with at the time.