Foursquare goes after lookie loos with BlackBerry update

For the first time on mobile, Foursquare today gave BlackBerry owners the option to use its application to check out nearby recommended places without creating an account or logging in to the service.

The logged-out functionality, announced Thursday, allows BlackBerry users to tap into Explore, Foursquare’s treasure trove of place recommendations powered by the more than 3 billion check-ins and 30 million tips created by existing users. Foursquare Explore was recently made available to anyone on the web but is still locked behind log-in screens on mobile, save for BlackBerry.

“Inspired by the possibility of making Foursquare available to as many people as possible, our BlackBerry team built a logged-out mobile version of Explore during a recent hackday,” the company wrote in a blog post Thursday. “With today’s update, BlackBerry becomes the first place where you can download Foursquare and start searching for places immediately, before you’ve even signed up.”

A company spokesperson added that the mobile hack was inspired by “a huge jump in Explore usage” after the logged out web version went live.

The change seems like an obvious one, and frankly one we’re surprised we haven’t seen crop up in Foursquare’s iPhone and Android applications. Why? Because the New York-based startup has been trying to get people to think of its application as the best way to uncover hidden gems in familiar hoods or locate stellar venues afar, and even as a viable maps alternative.

But to date Foursquare has been largely perceived as a social network for people who love to brag about where they are and their mayorships. To change that perception, Foursquare needs to make its place recommendation engine accessible to everyone. Competitor Yelp, for instance, provides people with business reviews information on mobile whether or not they’re logged in.

The BlackBerry update also seems like a perfect way to let people peek inside Foursquare and (ideally) get them hooked on the larger, account-required experience.

Photo credit: mckaysavage/Flickr


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