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If you want to know where Foursquare’s taking its business, look no further than the latest version of its iOS app.

foursquare-6.0Over the past year Foursquare has transitioned away from being the app of badges and mayorships to an app of location discovery and recommendations. And this shift in emphasis is everywhere in Foursquare 6.0, which rolls out on Wednesday morning.

Let’s look at a few of the bigger changes.

Explore, Foursquare’s location search feature, is now readily accessible at the center of the app’s top navigation panel. This pushes the check-in button to the bottom of the screen, and completely takes over the space previously reserved for Foursquare’s logo. (Obviously, that’s some valuable real estate up there.)

The changes even extend to the Foursquare activity feed, which is now populated not just by your friends’ activity but by trending locations, recommendations, and other local happenings. (Much of this should sound familiar to users of Foursquare’s Android app, which got these features in Foursquare’s March update.)

All of these changes underscore Foursquare’s new, far more interesting desire to be the first app you go to when you’re looking for a new place to try out. That’s obviously a very enticing notion for local businesses: If Foursquare can prove that it consistently drives more visitors to businesses, it can also give those local businesses a more convincing case for why they should plunk down cash for Foursquare’s paid products.

Sounds like a business plan to me.

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