Have you used FourSquare?  I ask as a person and not a marketer.  At first, it just seemed like FourSquare was a way to share information…about yourself.  You could tell family, friends, anyone reading your social media streams, where you were ‘hanging out.’

Foursquare’s popularity grew quickly, to the point where others wanted to snatch it up.  Not just any brands, Yahoo and Facebook kinds of brands.   Foursquare soundly stood its ground and denied opportunities for buyouts.  It wanted to stay independent.

It’s difficult for any brand to maintain forward momentum; these days, Foursquare’s popularity and growth has ebbed.  Is it time for them to start thinking outside of the original square?

It seems so; today, the company recently announced some changes to its application.  Let’s go back to the first square.  It served as a means to alert others about…you.  Now, the founders unveil the true vision, turning it into a recommendation service, akin to the likes of Yelp.

Whoa there, it may be difficult to switch lanes so quickly among the fast-paced nature of modern-day technology.  This sentiment sums it up nicely, “The nature of this game is that there is another idea or technology around the corner.”

Again, originally Foursquare was a tool to alert people of your locale, perhaps initiating a meet-up or alerting followers of a new restaurant or bar.  These elements are crucial and will not change; but, the emphasis will shift on inspiring people to ‘explore’ their own options based on the Foursquare info of others.  For example, the app hopes to inspire eventual sales, leading browsers to nearby places to shop and eat.

The newer system will not only offer suggestions to a person’s social media followers, but to them as well.  For instance, if you’re always checking in to sushi restaurants, the app will begin trending like suggestions in the future.  It will emphasize sushi more due to personal data.

Actually, Foursquare itself is a huge library of information to date.  Since 2009, the company has collected more than 2 billion pieces of data related to 20 million users!  To date the brand has not made a ‘significant’ amount of income.  However, as the NY Times article highlights, it’s not a far stretch to think the brand may begin to ‘charge’ merchants for nudging users in particular directions.

Whether coincidence or vindication for new direction, Foursquare reports people using it less to check-in and more for perusing the decisions of others regarding bars, restaurants, etc.  What do you think of the ‘new’ box Foursquare hopes to place itself into?  Will it work?  Is it too late?