Mobile

Foursquare brings its recommendation smarts to Android’s push notifications

Foursquare is slowly becoming the app CEO Dennis Crowley always wanted it to be.

The company is introducing a new feature to Foursquare’s Android app that will automatically push contextual notifications to users based on their locations.

Via the notifications Foursquare could, for example, automatically recommend that you visit a restaurant based on your location and then give you a tip about the place once you get there. Foursquare says offer these recommendations even when users don’t check-in. Its data has become that powerful.

As the company describes it, “We think of this feature like a sixth sense: proactive recommendations of things you didn’t even know you were looking for.”

In other words, Foursquare is moving from a pull experience to a push experience. And that just might help it regain some if its lost users, who ditched the check-in-focused Foursquare of old.

Foursquare shares that strategy with apps like Google Now or even Field Trip, which also gives people recommendations based on what’s around them. The difference, however, is that with Foursquare, the recommendations are powered by its 35 million users and 4 billion check-ins.

For longtime Foursquare fans, the new functionality might sound familiar: Foursquare introduced a nearly identical feature called Radar in 2011, before quickly finding that the app’s drain on battery life and location (in)accuracy made the overall experience lackluster.

Both of those kinks seem to be ironed this time around: One, Foursquare says the extra battery load is negligible – roughly .7 percent per hour, it estimates — and, two, because of all of the check-in data its collected over the years, it says it can sidestep some of the more significant limitations of current location technology.

The feature, which doesn’t have a name, will initially be available only to a select few Android users, with a wider rollout to iOS expected before the end of the year.

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