foursquare

Tim Bradshaw

It may not be the biggest Microsoft story around today, but it’s a big deal for Foursquare: Microsoft is investing $15m in the social-location app as part of a new four-year commercial partnership.

The $15m investment comes in addition to the $35m that Foursquare raised in December last year from DFJ Growth and Capital Group. The app lets users share their location with friends by “checking in” and then recommends new places based on where they’ve been in the past.

Although uptake hasn’t quite lived up to the hype when it launched in 2009, it has collected a lot of data since then: 5bn check-ins, 60m places and 40m tips, all crowdsourced from some 45m users. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Four billion check-ins later, Foursquare is finding new ways to use all the location data that users have shared with the four-year-old smartphone app.

That includes both new features for users – and new ways to make money from the body of data it’s collected, with third parties. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Facebook’s “Sponsored Stories”. Twitter’s “Promoted Tweets”. Tumblr’s “Sponsors” in Radar and Spotlight. A pattern is forming in how social media companies charge advertisers to promote their “organic” postings.

The latest to flip the revenue switch in this way is Foursquare.

More than three years after the location-led app took the South by South West Interactive festival by storm, “Promoted Updates” are Foursquare’s first big ad productRead more

Tech news from around the web:

MasterCard is to invest in mFoundry, a company that provides mobile banking solutions for more than 500 US banks, TechCrunch reports. As part of the deal, mFoundry will offer MasterCard’s PayPass Near Field Communication technology to the banks and credit unions it works with. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

Google+ is now open to the public, the Los Angeles Times reports. After 12 weeks of field trials, the social network is still technically in a ‘beta stage’ however, with nine new features being added this week and more planned for the future.

Location-based app Foursquare has just clocked up a billion check-ins, says TechCrunch. On top of this, Foursquare has launched a new version of its mobile app for the iPhone and Android handsets. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

Research in Motion is in talks with the four largest record companies about launching a new music service to run on top of the company’s instant message service, BlackBerry Messenger, according to CNET.  At the moment there are very few details as to how the music service would work within BBM but it is expected to be launched within the next few weeks, sources told CNET. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

Location-based service Foursquare is to start incorporating daily deals from social shopping companies such as Groupon, LivingSocial, Gilt Groupe into its product, Mashable reports. Foursqaure plans to pass on daily coupons from its partners to the service’s users — taking a cut of the revenue along the way. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Several popular social networking services were knocked out on Thursday due to problems with cloud services provided by Amazon. The outages for the likes of Foursquare, Hootsuite, Quora and Reddit illustrates the dependence of many startups on rented remote computing power and the widespread disruption that can be caused if a single cloud provider has problems with its network. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Facebook Places, launched just five months ago, already appears to be sucking marketing dollars away from needy location-based startups such as Foursquare and Gowalla , according to a new survey. Responses from more than 8,000 local business owners in the US to a MerchantCircle quarterly questionnaire also suggest group-buying sites are failing to gain much traction versus traditional online marketing destinations such as Facebook and Google’s AdWords. Read more

From around the web:

  • Foursquare announced that the start up has added 5 languages and now has 6.5 million users, TechCrunch reports.
  • More details have been revealed on the rumoured “iPhone nano”, Cult of Mac reports. “The iPhone nano will have no memory for onboard storage of media, our source says. It will have only enough memory to buffer media streamed from the cloud,” Cult to Mac writes.

 Read more

Tim Bradshaw

A little bit of Foursquare history was made in London last night. The UK’s first “super swarm” badge was awarded to more than 300 users of the location game. They all checked into the Jewel Bar in Piccadilly, with no other goal than to win the badge. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

As my colleague David Gelles wrote earlier today, Facebook has finally announced its long-expected location service, Places. It’s only available in the US so far but the rest of the world should be getting it through Facebook’s iPhone app and touchscreen site in the next few months.

Places provides very similar a service to the “check in” function provided by Foursquare – which turned down a Facebook takeover earlier this year – but with Facebook’s trademark simplicity and clean design. The main enhancement is that Facebook users can tell the site when their friends are with them at a bar or school, in the same way they can tag them in photos.

It’s a big moment for Facebook, but also for the check-in itself, which alongside the Like button is quickly becoming one of the internet’s most common ways to interact. As well as Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp and other location-based services, you can now check-in to the TV show you’re watching (through Miso) or even the dinner you’re eating (thorough Foodspotting). Read more

David Gelles

Facebook has just invited us to an event on Wednesday afternoon at which the company “will provide an update on the service’s features and products.”

Sounds like a product launch, and Facebook is likely to unveil some features that will help it defend its turf from Google’s imminent social networking push.

At the top of the list of features Facebook watchers are anticipating: Places. Read more

David Gelles

Foursquare, the social networking company that lets users “check in” to locations using mobile phones, has taken its first significant round of funding after acquisition talks sputtered.

The $20m series B investment was led by Andreessen Horowitz, the venture capital firm founded by Netscape founder Marc Andreessen. Other investors include Union Square Ventures and O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures. The deal values Foursquare at $95m. Read more

David Gelles

When it comes to the long-term success of stand-alone “check-in” services like Foursquare, Gowalla and Booyah, it’s all about incentives.

Sure, a few hundred-thousand early adopters might find social value in sharing their location with the world. But in order for checking-in to go mainstream, these companies will have to offer users a compelling answer to the question “Why?”

Foursquare is inching towards a meaningful response with a bevy of partnerships, including its latest promotion with StarbucksRead more

David Gelles

As anticipated, location-sharing services were the talk of the town in Austin as engineers and entrepreneurs convened for the South by Southwest Interactive festival.

“Location, location location,” Playfish chief operating officer Sebastien de Halleux told me when I caught up with him. “It’s a big theme for the web at this stage.”

That may be true. But despite the genuine promise of location-based services, and all the hype around the budding rivalry between Foursquare and Gowalla — rival applications that let users “check-in” and share their location with friends — this stuff is still a long way from being mainstream. Read more

David Gelles

South by Southwest Interactive gets underway today in Austin, Texas, and a broad swath of the technology community will be headed there to check out the bands, barbecue, and, oh yeah, the startups.

Ever since Twitter had its breakout moment at the 2007 festival, SXSW has been considered a king-maker of sorts. Yet no startup has yet been able to replicate Twitter’s success.

This year the major theme is set to be location based services, and the battle between Foursquare and Gowalla in particular. The two similar services let users “check-in” to different locations and earn virtual badges and points, and tech enthusiasts believe that with the proliferation of smartphones, both companies could become hugely successful. Read more