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Until late July 2014, Foursquare featured a social networking layer that enabled a user to share their location with friends, via the "check in" - a user would manually tell the application when they were at a particular location using a mobile website, text messaging, or a device-specific application by selecting from a list of venues the application locates nearby.
Foursquare eschews the traditional concept of letting users leave long-form reviews, and instead encourages the writing of "Tips" - short messages about a location which let other users know what is good (or bad) there.Pilgrim will guess the current location and the user is able to correct the selection if wrong.The tab displays information about the current venue, and includes a Check-in button.It is also possible to search other areas by entering the name of a remote location.The app displays personalised recommendations based on the time of day, displaying breakfast places in the morning, dinner places in the evening etc.Foursquare is a local search-and-discovery service mobile app which provides search results for its users.
The app provides personalized recommendations of places to go to near a user's current location based on users' "previous browsing history, purchases, or check-in history". Crowley had previously founded the similar project Dodgeball as his graduate thesis project in the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at New York University.
Tips are limited to 200 characters in length, but can include a URL to link to an external site with more information, and can include a photo.
Tips can be set to expire after a certain amount of time, or on a specific date, which can be useful for leaving Tips about events or promotions at a venue that will end soon.
Users have the ability to 'Like' tips left by other users, which makes those tips more prominent.
Users can also save tips left by other users onto their own to do list, ensuring that the user is reminded about them when they are nearby, and can "follow" any other user or brand to increase the prominence of that user's tips when they are navigating Foursquare. Expertise is awarded based on the number and quality of tips a user writes, a tip's quality being measured based on the number of views, saves and "likes" it receives from other users.
The new app has changed the focus of the app to being primarily a local search and discovery tool, where users can "follow" others to receive local recommendations from them.