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Foursquare adds an Algorithm, with added Viral Spice

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9 November 2012

Foursquare pushed an update to its iOS app this week, which you easily could have missed. There are no radical user interface do-overs, and you might think it’s the same old app, with a few bug fixes and security patches.

Except, it isn’t.

Foursquare's new Algorithm

There are two seemingly subtle updates to the way things work in Foursquare, with far-reaching consequences:

Tag your Facebook friends

This is a small one, but its sheer viral potential makes it way beyond noteworthy. By tagging your Facebook friends in your checkins on Foursquare, you’re immediately attracting them to the checkin (and Foursquare), which will be interesting to them, if they were there too. What makes this really, really viral, is the fact that those friends don’t need to be on Foursquare. You can tag someone who’s never heard of Foursquare before.

We predict a noticeable user growth as a result of this.

The Foursquare algorithm

It might not be obvious, but Foursquare venue ratings is quite a major step for the company. Given the fact that a third of Foursquare’s team used to work for Google, it’s fair to start looking at Foursquare as a venue rating engine, which rates places very much the same way Google ranks web pages.

Let me rephrase that: Foursquare is building a Pagerank algorithm for the physical world.

That is major, no?

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