MoMA and Foursquare Partner for a Scavenger Hunt

From June 17 – July 31st, the MoMA is urging New Yorkers to explore and educate themselves on the city’s best modern iconic architecture through a scavenger hunt tracked with Foursquare check-ins.


Inspired by the current Henri Labrouste: Structure Brought to Light and Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Architecture exhibitions, the social media driven hunt takes you through 21 architectural sites throughout the city. Clues for the hunt are posted on MoMA‘s Facebook page and on Foursquare. Once you reach the site and check-in with Foursquare, you get a little informational blurb about the architecture of the site. Also, by checking in, you get $5 off a MoMA ticket.

(via PSFK)

Why I’m Curious

I think this is a great way for a museum to interact socially with their fan base. Using the power of social media, MoMA can track those interacting with check-ins, and reward those who participate with $5 off of their fee.


Foursquare Rolls Out Visualizations of Your Check-Ins, Sponsored By Samsung

From AdAge:

​Foursquare has partnered with Samsung for My History, a new feature that will provide users with infographics based on their check-in histories.


The individualized heat maps are branded with Samsung’s logo for its latest high-end smartphone the Galaxy S4 and features a tab titled “The Next Big Thing” in which users can receive recommendations on places to visit based on where they’ve checked in before. The partnership is worth seven figures for Foursquare, according to an executive familiar with the terms.

Foursquare users can access My History at where they can watch their entire check-in history — which dates back to 2009 for the app’s first users — unfold in fast forward. A play-pause button at the bottom of the screen allows to users to stop the experience and note certain behaviors such as distance between subsequent check-ins and when they checked into a certain location. The infographic can also show users how much times they spent in coffee shops versus bars among other comparisons.

Ads for My History will appear within Foursquare once the company rolls-out its “post-check-in” ads in the coming weeks. Those ads will be served to users once they check into a specific location.

Why Am I Curious?

Beyond just a nifty tool to help users visualize their check-ins, this seems to be yet another foray into marketing and monetization by FourSquare. Once this feature is adopted, it will be interesting to see if and which brands will be first to promote themselves on “The Next Big Thing” and if this kind of heavy marketing activity will turn off a number of people from using FourSquare – especially if the ads/promotions are not necessarily “surprise and delight”, “here is a coupon for 20% off” type of deals.

Foursquare Time Machine Teleports You Down Memory Lane

From Mashable:

Okay world travelers, now it’s time for some humble bragging, thanks to the new Foursquare Time Machine. On Thursday, the company announced this new way to visualize all of your past check-ins on its Foursquare blog, and what a gorgeous visualization it is.

The animation flies you around all those haunts you’ve visited in times past, served up in a lovely 3D effect that you can autoplay to your heart’s content. You can zoom in or out of its map showing all the places you’ve been, checking out each of your check-ins. The interface helpfully provides places Foursquare has recommended for you as well.


Why I’m Curious:

I’m always interested in the way brands are leveraging platforms in a unique way that is tied to their product or tagline.  In this case Samsung is looking at all of your checkins and helping you pick new places so that you can discover “The Next Best Thing” in your city.  I think it falls down a bit because it assumes that the city you’ve checked into most is the city where you’re going to discover the “Next Best Thing”.

Foursquare Goes All-In on Explore

This week, Foursquare released version 6.0 of its iPhone app. The release marks a shift in priority away from check-ins and in favor of the app’s recommendation-generating “Explore” feature.

Interface-wise, the Explore search bar now sits prominently atop the app’s homescreen. Below that, you have your area map as well as a streamlined feed that integrates your friends’ check-ins with recommendations and trending places. The check-in button is centered at the bottom.

Recommendations are now customized based on date, time, and location…For example, a check-in at the Frying Pan after work may yield a nearby dinner recommendation…Recommendations are served up in this fashion based on other users’ past check-in behavior.

Check out Foursquare’s blog post for more detailed information…


Why I’m Curious?

Since its launch, Explore has always seemed to me to be where the app should be focusing its energies, and I’m glad to see it finally take center stage.

With 3.5 billion check-ins logged, Foursquare has a wealth of data to draw upon, and the possibilities for the app to own the location-based recommendation space I think are pretty exciting…Having recently secured $41MM in additional funding, it’ll be interesting to see how the the app goes about monetizing.

“Making Cities More Usable” – Dennis Crowley on Foursquare at SXSW

A lot of people might think of Foursquare as that checkin app with badges and leader boards and finding out where your friends are. But it’s a lot more than that now, thanks to all the map data and information that they know about places people are going to.

In a conversation onstage at SXSW with Anil Dash, Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley discussed the company’s evolution from an app that was primarily focused around helping people to find their friends, to finding out more about the world that they live in.

Crowley said that one of the underreported stories is the number of companies that rely on Foursquare’s map data and what developers can potentially do with that. The place database has more than 50 million places of interest in it, and it changes frequently. Users enter new places as soon as they open up, and signal places that have closed down.

When talking about the map data that it has, Crowley compared Foursquare’s check-ins to Google’s web crawlers scanning the Internet for new websites. “People tell us about the places that are interesting, the places that are no longer interesting,” he said.

More importantly, the company isn’t entirely dependent on just its users anymore for a lot of its data. Thanks to the Foursquare API, the company gets location data from lots of different apps. For instance, every Instagram picture that has a location attached to it sends a data signal to Foursquare about that place of interest.

At the end of the day, the data that Foursquare has is the ability to provide more personalized maps than what is available today. Crowley said that maps haven’t really changed that much since people started making them, but now that we have certain amounts of trending data or interest data, Foursquare could help make the places that people see more meaningful to them.

Crowley likened that to Harry Potter’s “Marauders Map” and how it provides Harry with details about the people and places around them. “There is enough data that we should be able to make that Harry Potter map and give it to everyone in the room,” Crowley said.


Why I’m Curious: The relationship between Foursquare and its API partners is kind of symbiotic: Foursquare has one of the best map data sets out there and makes it available. In exchange, it finds out more about the places that its partners’ users go to. It’s interesting to see how powerful data can be when combined with contextually relevant partnerships. It’s obvious most of these apps are created with the user in mind, the user experience as the priority, and they are becoming more and more valuable as complementary apps emerge.

Foursquare Check-ins During Hurricane Sandy

By Helder Santo and David Koch

From Foursquare:

“Our visualization of the before and after of the storm last week got a lot of attention, so we decided to dig a bit deeper and show how check-in patterns change during an event of Hurricane Sandy’s magnitude. Here’s a time lapse of lower Manhattan, beginning with the Saturday before the storm and ending early this morning, with much of power downtown having been restored. Besides the general ebb and flow of activity between day and night throughout the week, you’ll see the number of check-ins drastically decrease below 34th Street from Tuesday to Friday, when almost all of lower Manhattan was without power.”

Foursquare’s CheckNChew Gumball Machine

BostInno recently shared about a lot of techy things going on over in Boston’s Kendall Square, but I’m pretty sure this one takes the cake. The Legal Sea Foods location has installed a gumball machine that dispenses a piece of gum every time you check-in on Foursquare.

According to the About Foursquare blog, the “CheckNChew” gumball machine was developed by Legal Sea Foods’ New York ad agency, DeVito/Verdi. By coupling an open-sourced electronics prototyping platform called an Arduino with foursquare’s API, a sugary gumball is released moments after a user checks in to that particular Legal Sea Foods location.

“It’s one of those things where we spent way more time on it than we should have,” DeVito/Verdi’s Tyler DeAngelo tells About Foursquare. After watching this video, though, I’d say their time spent on it was well worth it.

Why I’m Curious: I’m curious about the possibilities with check-ins and insta-rewards. Check-in to your home after a workout, and the shower automatically turns on. Check-in to your favorite bar, and you’re automatically poured a beer. After seeing this video, I already want to travel to Boston, eat at Legal Sea Foods and grab a gumball. The crazy thing is I don’t even love seafood OR gumballs. However, the “awesomeness” level of social media vending machines reels me in and fosters deeper senses of surprise and delight I now associate with both Foursquare and Legal Sea Foods. I also think with the new updates Foursquare just rolled out this week, check-ins play an even bigger role in its Explorer functionality rendering them more beneficial than ever for companies.

We Know What You’re Doing. Do You?

You’d think that most people are aware of the importance of privacy on the Internet and posting personal information…you’d think. But a recent ‘experiment’ from teenage web developer, Callum Haywood proves that wrong.

We Know What You’re Doing” scans for publicly posted updates from Facebook and Foursquare and then curates them with certain keywords such as ‘drunk,’ ‘hungry,’ or ‘boss.’ And then posts them in four distinct categories: “Who wants to get fired”, “Who’s hungover,” “Who’s taking drugs,” and “Who’s got a new phone number.”

Why I’m Curious

“We Know What You’re Doing” is simply pulling info that people are willingly sharing in status updates and check-ins. The key word being willingly. It wouldn’t seem too far off that sharing could lead to as ReadWriteWeb put it: “We Know What You’re Doing (Even If You Don’t).” In fact, Facebook already generated this playlist of songs people listened to on Spotify before officially updating their relationship status. As people continue to share more info (especially more info simultaneously), it become easier to learn more about them…and do something with it, even if they aren’t aware.

Introducing Tagbrand, the new Foursquare of fashion

From TechCrunch:

The model is simple enough. Take and upload photos of what branded clothes you are wearing and tag them. Effectively, it’s a photo check-in for brands, or ‘Foursquare for fashion’, if you will.

The twist is that users are encouraged to tag up pictures with a visual tag of what brand each item of clothing is. Alas, the site does not yet do visual recognition of the clothes. Maybe one day…

TagBrand doesn’t call this check-ins, but – wait for it – “brand-ins”. People can then comment or vote on the brands their friends are wearing. Clearly the opportunity here is to capture a fashion-obsessed audience and provide a platform for advertisers.

The product combines contains brands, polls and e-commerce. There’s a lot of virality built into the service – every tags has a Twitter or Facebook button on it.

Now, clothing brands and retail stores are constantly chasing these people. This is one way of delivering them a highly targeted audience. Tagbrand’s business model is based on creating a special marketplace for them which is visible while browsing the brand’s tag on a photo. The stores provide Tagbrand with a price-list and its system attaches them to a “Recommended” block.

So while browsing their friends’ clothes, users see the real-world item beside the image and can purchase from there (click are on a CPC basis). Users also get delivered latest news on brands they such as new collections.

Why I’m curious:

Launched in May 2011 in Russia, TagBrand launched last month in the U.S. It works like Foursquare, and looks like Pinterest, and shops like an e-catalog, except it’s all UGC. (Actually, it’s kinda like Uniqlooks, except brand agnostic.)

What’s interesting is that this takes Pinterest to a whole new, niche level. For users, it’s not about browsing; it’s about bragging. In this way, it’s about recognition for uploaders. However, for casual passers-by (and some users, too), it still is about inspiration — and the way that TagBrand has created the site, about purchase. Really like someone’s Doc Martens? You can buy that brand of shoes at X, Y, Z store with just one click from the site. This is taking streetstyle blogs to a more shoppable level — a clear benefit for brands. It’s just a question of whether it’ll catch on in the States.

As of today there’s 21,945 users.

Where’s this all going?

New app on the social discovery scene, and this one feels like it might get a little more momentum behind it.  It’s called Forecast.  Available for iOS and Android, it’s touted as “a fun and simple way for friends to share where they’re going”.  You can login into the service using either Facebook or FourSquare.

There was a lot of buzz around social discovery apps a few weeks ago, mainly on the heels of SXSW – Sonar, Highlight,, and Glancee.  What’s different about Forecast is that you tell the app where you’re going to be later (get it… Forecast?).  Then, once you arrive there, the app checks you in without you having to fumble through your phone, or without your smartphone burning battery life constantly scanning for locations to check-into.

The real reason for the app to exist is to alert your friends to where you’re going to be someplace, so that they can meet you out.  As opposed to them finding out you’re at their favorite bar, too late to act on it.

Why I’m Curious

There’s a lot of momentum behind LBS and social discovery in particular.  Lots of apps are taking their swings at what will work – from a device standpoint, but also, and more critically, from a user standpoint.  If only there was a way to see the future for which one will appeal to enough users to get critical mass.

There’s gotta be some app that tells me where things will be in the future, right?

A Start up that Encourages Good Habits

It’s not easy keeping up with personal goals. Whether you’re trying to lose those extra pounds, take steps toward sustainability or even be more involved in relationships, life and the little things always seem to get in the way.

And that’s the motivation behind DailyFeats. DailyFeats is taking the checkin and making it philanthropic. The site (and upcoming mobile app) lets users post their actions via SMS, web, email, Foursquare or Google Talk.

DailyFeats, the B-Corp certified, reward-based good-habit tracker that helps people keep their goals in sight through simple daily activities. For example, instead of one umbrella goal of “Lose 10 Pounds,” DailyFeats breaks down that goal into more manageable metrics, such as “Eat fruits and veggies” or “Do Pushups” that users can check in to on a daily basis as this method provides a simple way for people to get into forming good habits.

But all of this positivity doesn’t stop at good habits. All of those points mean prizes, and DailyFeats gives its users an opportunity to pay it forward and give back to their communities. While the company does have a standard “Rewards Wishlist,” where users can request what they’d like to receive in exchange for the completion of their goals, the most accessible option is converting points into money and donating it to a non-profit. Also, the company has managed to integrate its social layer with targeted coupons and sponsors. Certain actions unlock specific discounts. For example, sponsors “!newskills” and “!makeconnections” sections whereas sponsors “!sympathy” sections. It’s a smart way to target consumers and encourage good deeds at the same time.

The program is free to subscribe and most challenges are very easy to accomplish. So, how does earn money and afford the prizes for its membership? It sounds a little too good to be true. works with large companies like Walgreens and Ebay. These companies pay a fee or provide prizes to be sponsors. It’s good marketing for companies and provides the money needed to keep running and members earning rewards.

Why Am I Curious?

I like the idea of the platform because I do believe in the insight that people set too lofty goals that end up being unrealistic or daunting when approached as a whole. This program lets you divide that goal into manageable and attainable steps and allows you to track your progress into achieving your larger goal – even if it is in terms of points and getting closer to an award. It also allows marketers to reach to consumers less intrusively while getting behind philanthropic causes. However, so much of the program concept depends on self-reported actions and personal accountability and I wonder if majority of the users will use the program for the purposes it was intended for.

Gtrot – The Pintrest for Happenings?

You may have heard of Gtrot before. It was where you could use your friends and social network to find great places to travel to. They have now taken that same idea and localized it. Gtrot is being re-launched at the end of March as a tool to explore your city.

Gtrot recently tweeted: “We’re moving away from the travel space and closer to local discovery.”

Read the full article on Mashable.


Why I’m Curious

Gtrot seems like a great advertising opportunity for small businesses as well as large companies. Having your establishment recommended by patrons is a great, but this could also turn into something more. The site suggests a variety of things including, restaurants, sporting/entertainment events, parks and even Living Social deals in your area. With some time and strategy there are probably sponsorship and promotion possibilities with in this new social site. It will be interesting to see which companies take advantage of this new platform.

Schemer – What would you like to do?

– Jordan


Schemer is an invite-only Google service for sharing and discovering things to do. “A scheme is any activity that can be done in the world, whether it’s ordering a favorite dish at a restaurant or snorkeling in the Caribbean with sharks,” explains Google.

Much like 43 Things, Schemer lets you define goals and mark the things you’ve already accomplished. You can inspire other people, find people who have the same goals and join the conversation. To make it easier to find a scheme, you can add tags and locations. Google also partnered with Bravo, Food Network, Rolling Stone, IGN and Entertainment Weekly, so you can get ideas from experts, not just from your friends.

Why I’m curious:

I am quite confused by Google as of late. They seem to be going after major game-players such as Facebook (Google +), iTunes (Google Music) and now FourSquare? (Schemer) i have always been a huge fan of Google but am finding it hard to stay positive when so many of their endeavors have been flops. Can an organization stay small and still effect a mass amount of people? It seems Facebook has been able to do it so far, but will they eventually end up like Google is now?

Highlight makes technology do the work for you

– Jordan

From TechCrunch

Checkins are not the future. They interrupt the moment and quickly become outdated. Highlight, a mobile app launching today, offers a better gateway to serendipitous meetups. All you do is download Highlight, turn it on, and let it run passively in the background. Then when you come within a few blocks of another Highlight user who’s your Facebook friend or that you have friends or interests in common with, Highlight sends you a push notification and lets you message them.

Why I’m curious:

I like this idea of “set it, and forget it.” My main trouble with Foursquare is that I have to constantly remember to pull out my phone, launch the app, wait for it to load, find my location and then confirm that location. As the future of apps and tech move forward it will be about limiting the users input and having the computer do the work for you, like Siri does. This app also directly hits on privacy issues that are quickly rising between consumers and brands. Consumers want the benefit without taking the risk. As long as brands respect consumer privacy, consumers will be open to trying their platform.

Solving #FashionWeekProblems

NYC Fashion Week just ended and ‘fashionistas’ were able to get by with a little help from @kmartfashion on Twitter. Using the hashtag #fashionweekproblems, industry insiders were able to summon a Kmart concierge to bring essentials like flats, new nylons, snacks, and coconut water.

There were many other digital efforts during fashion week including #FashionWheels, a tranportation effort run on Twitter & Foursquare. The campaign also catered the fashion world elite- editors, bloggers and buyers could track the locations of cars around the city and catch a stylish ride stocked with snacks and freebies. (more at WWD)

Why I’m Curious

Kmart launched the concierge service last year during fall fashion week 2011 with the hashtag #Kmartconcierge. But updating to the #FashionWeekProblems hashtag was a smart move – it tied in with what their target was talking about on Twitter (Fashion Week) in language that’s really appropriate for the channel (‘problems’ hashtags are always trending). As a result, the conversation stretched beyond the concierge service and throughout Twitter. It’s an important example knowing the nature of channel campaigns are launched on, and also how a program that really only benefits a few can expand its reach.

Phone Home When You Check In

Helicopter parenting is moving into the realm of social media with the launch of a helpful new service from Foursquare called #mom. The service provides a simple and fun way for people to let their mom know where they are. After signing up at, you can add #mom to your Foursquare check-in along with a short accompanying message and choose whether to send her an automated call or text.

Why I’m Curious:

Have the Foursquare gods been listening to me? I have been trying to get my mom on Foursquare so that I could (respectfully) avoid her “where are you?” texts…and this is the perfect solve for that! While various apps let you share when you’re arrived with others – from BlueLight to Arrived – I love that this is integrated into a social network/app that I already use. It solves the (narrowing) gap between generations – while most people’s parents aren’t on foursquare, they are however texting.

Foursquare Goes Online

Foursquare is moving beyond the check-in, by making its Explore feature more useful (read the article here).

Early last year, the service introduced a feature called Explore, which used algorithms to suggest nearby restaurants and other places to visit, based on the check-in history of a user and that user’s friends. — On Thursday, the company is expanding that tool further by releasing a version of its recommendation engine for the Web.

The new feature puts Foursquare more squarely in competition with business recommendation sites and travel guides like Yelp, Zagat and Frommer’s.

Users can filter results by places they have visited, places that they have not yet been to and places that their friends have visited.

So, for example, users could search for pizzerias that are popular among their friends but that they have not yet been to. But they could also search for “horchata,” the cinnamon-infused Mexican beverage, and see which places selling it are popular among Foursquare users. The feature could also be helpful when planning a vacation: Users could search for “tapas” in Barcelona and compile a list of places that their friends recommend or that are popular among the Foursquare community, and refer to it during a trip to Spain.

Why I am Curious

The development of this new approach was based on what the company learned from their own data: they were especially encouraged by new users to Foursquare who were downloading the app and opening it on a regular basis — but not to check in.

The next move: they are going for a loyalty play. “We’re the flip side of the daily deal model that sends people into businesses who will never return. We know where you and your friends like to go and what will be trending later on.”

In the end, it’s all about the experience: Foursquare lets users check in at events

Foursquare has begun indexing events as well as places, allowing users to check in at movies, concerts and sporting events through partnerships with ESPN, and Songkick.


Why I am Curious: 

The company is tapping into an insight they were able to capture after time: users’ tendency to add event-specific information when checking in at certain venues.

“[A] place is often more than just a place,” the company said in a statement.

Social Location Check-Ins: The Who, What, Where, Why, and Why Not

— Jocelyn

In an infographic created for this year’s Social-Loco conference, digital agency Beyond set out to break down the people behind check-ins by surveying 1,000 people. The goal: try to understand the difference between what people are saying online compared to the actions of early adopters and the views of the rest of the US population when it comes to their mobile check-in habits.


  • 83% of people don’t check-in. Of these people, 50% don’t check-in because they don’t own a smart phone, 49% had no motivation, and 48% are worried about privacy
  • Of the 17% that do check in, 90% use Facebook Places, 31% use Twitter, 30% use Groupon, 22% use Foursquare, 22% use Living Social, and 10% use Yelp Check-In.
  • People who check-in mostly do so at restaurants (53%), cafes (40%), bars/clubs (38%).
  • Whether you’re a user or a non-user, discounts/coupons are the primary motivation to use social-location check-ins.
  • People are more likely to interact with large national brands (63%) than small businesses (37%) using social location apps.
  • However, people are more likely to share interactions with small businesses (63%) than national brands (37%) with their friends online (e.g. blogs, FB, Twitter)

Why I’m Curious:

While not surprising how people use social-local for discounts/deals, it is suprising how dominant FB Places is amongst those who actually check-in, especially compared to how little talked-about FB Places is online. The discrepancy between what people are doing and what people are talking about shows that the hype behind Gowalla and Foursquare just can’t match what people already do naturally — Facebook.