Foursquare ‘Connected Apps’ Enhances User Experience
Amongst many other exciting launches, last week’s Google I/O conference saw the announcement of Foursquare’s ‘Connected Apps’ – a new platform that allows external applications to be integrated directly into the popular location-based social network. Prior to this launch, any apps that connected with Foursquare have been stand-alone, now this announcement signals an impressive new phase for the service which currently has a community of around 20 million users.
The integration of external applications with Foursquare will mean that its users can enjoy a more social and connected experience. As well as being able to check into a venue and view any special deals in your vicinity, the new connected service will provide additional information to the user based on their check-in. For example, The Weather Channel will inform you of the weather forecast for the city you are in; Eat This, Not That will suggest healthy options when you check into a restaurant (and also what dishes to avoid); whilst Soundtracking will allow you to share and discover songs that your friends have shared at a location.
The potential for brands is vast as it means they have the opportunity to target an already captive audience in a more personalised way. Any brand that has set locations should see this development as an opportunity to create specialised applications, if they haven’t already done so, and brands without a set location should partner with those that do to prevent them from missing out. Take McDonald’s for instance – the brand has an application that allows users to browse the menu and discover the nutritional information for each product. This would work brilliantly as a ‘connected app’ so that users checking into a McDonald’s restaurant would have instant access to all the product information they may need. A secondary brand that has close affinities with McDonald’s but that doesn’t have a set location for users to check into is Coca-Cola. The company could develop an app that ties into McDonald’s so that users could still connect with the brand without checking into a Coca-Cola location. These are just examples but it is easy to see the possibilities for brands, the list is endless.
From a personal perspective, I’m a big Foursquare user and can’t seem to visit anywhere without giving it a sneaky check-in so to me, this announcement comes as a pleasant surprise. I think that Foursquare’s step in enhancing the user experience signifies its established position in the social networking sphere and I can’t wait to try it out!