Foursquare is one of the hardest-working companies in mobile, based on the number of platforms it supports and updates it issues.
Just two months after the debut of iOS 7, the Foursquare team is at it again with a complete overhaul of its iPhone app, bringing push alerts to all users, improving the layout of its disparate components, and optimizing the experience depending on what users tend to do in the app.
The most important user-facing change is the rollout of push alerts to all Foursquare users, an experiment that began its life as a small Android-specific feature. The app analyzes your general location and suggests nearby restaurants and attractions; if it is certain you are inside a specific place, it will inform you of a fan-favourite dish or ideal activity. Though the app doesn’t utilize Apple’s iOS 7-specific background API, Foursquare has been tirelessly working to ensure battery usage is kept to an absolute minimum, and in my testing I can vouch for this claim.
The app may not appear too different from the outset, but certain elements of the UI have been tweaked and moved around: a left-side navigation bar prominently features your profile and a list of friends and to-do items; the feed, which you see upon first opening, boasts larger, screen-spanning photos of your friends; and recommendations, which are becoming the lifeblood of Foursquare’s post-checkin future, are much more prominent than before.
Checking in is still a huge part of the Foursquare experience, though, as evinced by the giant marker button floating on the bottom of the screen at all times. Instead of leaving the current screen, though, Foursquare introduces an overlay that floats on top of what’s happening below; it’s therefore easier to check in and return to what you were doing previously.
When you’re searching for somewhere to go — in a new city, say — Foursquare will not only give you directions, but will tell you how far you are from that place. It’s small touches like these that make the app a better choice, at least for me, when looking up interesting attractions in unknown places.
A similar update should be coming to Android in the coming days, too, so stay tuned.