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A hungry sojourner should have an easier time tracking down a good meal if updated iPhone and Android applications from Foursquare deliver on their promise to simplify place discovery.

The New York location-based company, currently in the midst of a rebrand, has shipped colorful Explore tab updates to its most popular mobile applications.

The Explore tab, the home of place discovery, now features smarter search capabilities, a new navigation for quick access to top picks and trending locations, the ability to search beyond your present location, and the option to filter results to just the places your friends have been. The update, in essence, lets people explore the world either using the tips and check-in data of Foursquare’s growing user base or by tapping the expertise of their friends.

Also new on mobile are the menus of nearly 250,000 U.S. restaurants — which equates to 13 million menu items — accesible from venue pages. Menu and pricing information was added to the web experience a few weeks ago and has now been ported over to mobile.

The mobile updates underscore Foursquare’s commitment to the “virtuous circle of location-based content,” as head of product Alex Rainert previously said. The startup would like to see application users jumping between mobile and web products and serendipitously discovering new places of interest. Foursquare’s ultimate goal: to become your one-stop shop for location-based content.

But while current Foursquare explorers will no doubt find the improvements useful, the improvements are merely incremental. The company still has a ways to go before it outgrows a self-inflicted identity crisis.

Photo credit: RachelEllen/Flickr


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