Foursquare's been a roll lately. First, it pulled off an overhaul of its core service with real-time recommendations. Then the app, best known for bar check-ins, launched an ad platform. Now, the company is partnering with Microsoft to integrate those recommendations into the software giant's search products.
The announcement was light on the details, but presumably Foursquare will become more closely knit into Windows Phones and other devices to offer real-time, hyperlocal tips and search results. According to a Bloomberg report, Microsoft plans to bake Foursquare location data into its digital personal assistant, Cortana, which hasn't been released yet but is expected to challenge Siri and Google Now.
Foursquare has collected 5 billion check-ins and 40 million tips from 45 million users, which is a lot of data — data that a bigger company could use to its advantage. While the partnership with Microsoft isn't an exclusive one, the company also invested $15 million in Foursquare, so it's unclear if Foursquare will be keeping an eye out for other potential partners.
What is clear is that Foursquare isn't giving up, even though the check-in trend that made the app popular in New York and San Francisco — and was soon replicated by Facebook and other social networks — wasn't enough to sustain the app. In December, Foursquare introduced a feature long in the works: the ability to hum quietly in the background, surfacing information about nearby places without even opening the app. Its pivot to recommendations, and a new feature that lets you order food delivery from GrubHub and Seamless directly from the Foursquare app, indicate that the New York-based company has aspirations beyond awarding badges for mayorship of your local watering hole.
This isn't the first time Microsoft has tried to add a social element to its search products. As the New York Times noted, a 2010 deal to surface Facebook recommendations in Bing results turned out to be a bust.
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