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Checking Out Foursquare's Explore, Radar, and Future
By: Jake Watt
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Last Wednesday Foursquare rolled out its latest update for iOS5 that, after dropping the web version of Explore on us just a few short weeks ago, optimizes the mobile version of Explore, plays with the serendipitous Radar extension, and brings us one step closer to travel and discovery nirvana. Innovation has been a trend as of late with the most widely utilized LBS service; Foursquare is traveling down a path that goes beyond scoreboards and badges. We're now talking experiences and bar tabs.

As I have written in the past, the pieces of unified social discovery are strewn throughout the web and hidden about our app stores. It's as if looking for a great pub on a business trip was as difficult to decipher as the torn map in City Slickers II. Spoiler Alert. One shard lets you plan and read reviews before you go. Another fragment shows where your friends have gone. One blip will even tweet you to go somewhere else if you've checked-in to that location before.

With menu integration, enhanced Explore, and heightened Radar, Foursquare is closing in on unifying our social map pieces. One nice little menu with perusing, landscape discovery, and a coincidental hangout gold mine all under the checkmark-clad company's platform.

Radar acts as a valuable tool for discovering popular places on the go. Walk and talk, feel a shake in your pocket; hey, it's Foursquare, and something awesome that you might want to do is over on W. Division Street. Not to mention the ever-discerning Foursquare very well could open Radar up to specific brands in order to extend a firm's narrative via Foursquare. Monetization anyone?

Explore allows you to play with its settings to uncover popular local spots with the "Trending" feature, find your friends' favorite dive, or visit somewhere new. Explore simply finds what you're looking to do in a place worth doing it in. From your hometown to Anywhere, USA; that is, if you find yourself visiting a '50s P.S.A.

Advances and evolution aside, we won't see Foursquare lose their tongue-in-cheek badges anytime soon. Is there any doubt that after surviving all of these heat/snowpocalypses we'll score a few extra points when we make it through the Mayan apocalypse on 12/21/12? That's a worry I don't believe any of us should have.

Concern yourself with watching where you step while idly walking the streets of a new city staring down at your phone. Maybe during that walk Radar will tip you off to a highly recommended local spot. Be adventurous and stop in. First round is on me.

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About the Author
Jake Watt is the Digital Strategist at The brpr Group. A recent graduate with honors from the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics, Jake’s deep appreciation for creativity built upon a concrete business foundation creates this millennial’s dynamic presence in the digital world. Jake may be a dreamer, but studies have shown he is not the only one. Find him on Twitter here.
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