Improving Foursquare

FourSquare is a social media application, allowing you to use GPS enabled phones to ‘check in’ to venues, earn badges, etc. As with most social media platforms, 4sq lacks several features and would benefit from additional work. Some of my ideas, after using the site for a month.

  • “Things done” is a poor choice of words for “I left a note / tip”, unless it encompasses more than that. If so, there should be better / more prominent documentation about it.
  • “Things done” part 2. Walking in the door and leaving a tip is often pointless. It’s only after you have been there an hour or as you walk out, that you may think “great drink special tonight” or “lots of hot scattered ass”. Having an option to check out of a venue with a tip would be handy, or some method to add the tip without re-checking in.
  • Editing a venue is messy. Doing it via phone allows you to edit all the fields, sometimes. Other times it just let me “flag venue info”, “flag venue as closed”, “flag incorrect address” or “flag venue as duplicate”. The one venue I did edit was not fixed a week later on subsequent checkins. The web page lets me edit tags, but not submit changes to the name (Park, not Parl).
  • Flagging a venue as a dupe, seems to do nothing so far. If they are eventually dealt with, how are they handled? Is the ‘best’ information from each merged into one? Is the mayorship based on the most checkins to either/both?
  • Why can so many dupes be added? There are at least three variations of one bar I frequent. When adding a venue, a routine should look for similar names in the surrounding 500 meters and suggest them. Why? (read next bullet)
  • Because the search feature is not as reliable as you may expect. Searching for a venue may pull up one quickly, but not show the duplicate venues. This indicates a bug in the search engine.
  • If the venue editing process is limited, I would guess it is due to the lack of employees at 4sq. This site would greatly benefit from community involvement. Having a handful of community moderators, say 1 moderator per 250,000 population of a city, would allow for considerably more accurate venues.
  • 4sq needs to stay up on current phone issues. I have a Samsung Galaxy phone, that is notorious for poor GPS functionality. The physical device is fine, the software that drives the phone just interacts with it poorly. This causes it to take minutes to get a current GPS location, sometimes be off by as much as 500 meters or simply not pull back a current location without rebooting the phone. If I check into a venue over 250 meters away, it may say “we think you are too far from this, we’ll let you check in but NO POINTS FOR YOU”. The application should detect my phone and instead, let me check in for points and offer sympathy that Samsung can’t figure out GPS 101.
  • Missing venue: Denver is known for its big selection of microbrewery / restaurants. This category should be added, as well as a “Brewmaster” badge for visiting X venues flagged as such. (this has been submitted to them)
  • The ‘find friends’ functionality is severely broken. It cannot find friends on Facebook that use 4sq already.

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