Snubbed by Apple, Foursquare makes its maps experience better on iPhone

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How does the saying go? The best offense is a good defense.

Fresh off rejection, Foursquare is making a full court press on iOS with the release of an iPhone 5 and iOS 6-ready version of its check-in application that touts — go figure — a more personalized maps experience for better exploring cities everywhere.

In version 5.3, released today for iPhone, the three-year-old startup has made design and feature improvements to the Explore tab to help users more easily find places they might like.

The Explore tab, which already made venue recommendations, is meant to be simpler to navigate, faster, and more efficient. Particularly, the tab now includes new search categories for finding places that a member has saved to a list, locales a person has previously or never visited, or venues that friends have frequented.

The update, while not major by any means, does enhance an important piece of the Foursquare experience that differentiates the offering from the likes of competitors like Yelp. Unfortunately for Foursquare, Yelp was chosen as the primary places engine for the Apple Maps experience. While likely not an intentional snub, Apple’s decision to rely on Yelp to serve users with business information, tips, photos, and check-ins is a snub all the same, and one that gives the newly public company exposure to millions of new people.

But Apple is the midst of a Maps nightmare, so the door is open for Foursquare to find favor with Maps haters looking for better ways to find nearby places.

Notice the careful wording included in the company’s blog post, emphasis ours.

Like any good map, if you type a specific place into Explore, we know where it is and can find it for you. But because we also know what you and your friends like, what’s popular in the neighborhood, and have data from tens of millions of tips and over 2.5 billion check-ins, we can also give you tailored suggestions instead of one size-fits-all results.

A previous blog post, published on iPhone 5 launch day, also highlighted the superiority of Foursquare’s maps experience. “With foursquare, you don’t get any map — you get one that’s made just for you,” the post said.

So you get the point. Well played, Foursquare.


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