Location service Foursquare is showing off its new coat of paint. The company today unveiled a website redesign with a whole new experience for people sitting at their desks. What started as a check-in game all of a sudden seems a lot more like a formidable business in the making.
The fun of Foursquare has long been the ability to check in at destinations using a mobile phone and share location information with friends, but the revamped website brings the sharing and discovery to millions more users who are surfing the web from their desktop computers. As Foursquare wrote in a blog post today:
It shows everything interesting nearby – your friends, places that are trending (in yellow), places on your lists (green), places with Specials (orange), and places that are popular (blue). You can even drag the map around or zoom in and out and all the interesting places update automatically.
The new Foursquare desktop has an activity feed with pictures and checking from friends, and it also shows suggested restaurants nearby. The app knows what time it is, so suggestions change from breakfast to dinner, if it’s 6pm, as opposed to 8am.
We previously reported that Foursquare is moving beyond the check in, as the location service continues to grow and mature, adding users like mad. At last month’s Web 2.0 Summit, co-founder and chief executive officer Dennis Crowley said there had been more than 10 million downloads of its mobile apps.
The blog post also says that more than 1 million people per day are visiting Foursquare’s website already to get information. The redesign will help visitors to track their favorite bands, celebrities and brands right on Foursquare’s site.
The redesign is also supposed to make the iPad experience superior to anything Foursquare has offered before.
Crowley first created the location-based service Dodgeball, which was sold to Google, but the project failed to thrive within the organization. Today Foursquare is the category leader in location services, alongside such rivals as Gowalla, and Loopt, but neither have Foursquare’s traction, and none have yet to come up with a desktop experience that blends so seamlessly with the mobile app. Now that Foursquare has tipped its hand, expect competing offers in the not-too distant future.