Foursquare for Windows 8 Is a Powerful Discovery Engine


Foursquare brought the idea of “checking in” on a smartphone to the mainstream. Having conquered mobile, the service that’s synonymous with location-based services is finally spreading to the desktop via a dedicated app for Windows 8.

First promised at Microsoft BUILD back in June, the Windows version of Foursquare changes the focus of the experience. Instead of checking in, the emphasis is on browsing and discovery. The idea is that you’ll probably fire up Foursquare for Windows 8 before you go out to the bar, restaurant or coffee shop. Check-ins are still there, just off to the side. There’s also no social feed that shows what your friends are doing.

As soon as you launch the app, you can tell this isn’t your father’s Foursquare. It’s made in the same minimalist style as most Windows 8 apps, complete with horizontal scrolling. Even before you log in it’ll pull in the best venues close to your current location (with your permission, of course), taking into account user ratings, check-ins and time of day. Scroll right, and you’ll see more venues. Scroll left and you’ll find the interactive map, with noteworthy venues marked.

The app integrates with Windows 8’s charms menu flawlessly. Start typing and it’ll search for whatever you’re looking for: specific name, cuisine or type of venue. Search results appear as venue “cards” that scroll horizontally, each displaying the venue name, rating and whether or not there’s a special offer.

When you visit a venue page, tips will float in and out in the layout, almost like Windows live tiles. Tap on one, and more will appear — you can keep going, adding eight at a time for as long as you wish.

Foursquare’s many photos finally have room to shine in Windows 8. While many people upload a photo when they check in, the mobile app never had a good way to surface them. The rectangular style of Windows 8 is perfect for this, showing all the recent venue pictures in a grid, letting you click on any one of them to expand.

The app has one weakness, however: The map isn’t interactive, meaning there’s no pinch-to-zoom, no re-orienting, no features users have come to expect from maps within pretty much any location app. I hope Foursquare fixes this quickly in a coming update — it’s the one thing holding back an otherwise great user experience.

Any thoughts on the new Foursquare? Share them in the comments.


Images: Foursquare; Mashable, Emil Lendof


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