Foursquare is getting into the bot game with the launch of its Marsbot project. This standalone app promises to deliver recommendations on places you can go to eat or drink by text “before you think to ask for it.” The service is available for those on iOS and based in New York City and San Francisco, although when we tried to download it just now, the App Store said it wasn’t accessible in our market.
Although it’s a bot, Foursquare said that Marsbot isn’t a chatbot like what you’d see with Poncho, 1-800 Flowers, and others that you access within Facebook Messenger. It’s less conversational and more predictive. The company said that it uses your location and travel patterns to provide suggestions on where you can go next.
When you first begin, you’ll be able to establish your preferences, such as whether you’re a vegetarian or if you have any special things that Marsbot should know about, such as top tastes, frequently visited places, and more.
Right now Marsbot only focuses on places to eat and drink, but it’s likely that its location intelligence could expand to other areas such as shopping, places to see, and accommodations. This isn’t a service to help you get your laundry done or summon an Uber. It’s to help make decisions about finding sustenance so you’ll perhaps explore new places or find the perfect spot for noms.
Foursquare product manager Marissa Chacko cautioned that it’s a work in progress, and not everyone will have immediate access. “While we are iterating, fixing bugs and improving the experience, we’ll be slowly letting people in from the waitlist. It’ll take time for Marsbot to learn about you and for us to refine how it all works. So please be patient. No one said inventing the future would be easy,” she wrote in a blog post.
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