In a very exciting development, Foursquare is partnering with Huffington Post and the Independent Film Channel to offer their users the benefit of the growing 4-D mapping of the world, with more in-depth information about places to which users check in.
Its terrible to land in San Francisco and head to the waterfront, for example, only to find yourself smack in the middle of touristy t-shirt vendors, not knowing where a local would go to get good food. A Foursquare user ‘checks in’ at their favorite spots, or new spots as they travel around during their day. What started as ‘earning badges’ and ‘checking in at your favorite haunts’ has developed into much more potent information sharing. Users have been able to add special notes, ‘since you are so close, why don’t you try the reuben sandwich a few storefronts away, its beyond excellent’, in effect offering the secret knowledge of a neighborhood insider.
IFC asked their members for location-based information that intrigued them, then chose the places that best matched their brand and submitted them to Foursquare to add to its database. Foursquare users can opt in to receive IFC’s information whenever they near an IFC-annotated location.
As IFC says:
Assembled with care by the IFC community, the ‘Always On Slightly Off’ Guide to America includes some of the most appropriately inappropriate locales in the country. Add them to your to do list, and you may just find yourself at a Brooklyn bodega with Food Party’s Thu Tran or at one of the many shady NYC hotel bars frequented by IFC staffers.
Whether it be showcasing the best comedies, airing your favorite indie films or sending you to play mini golf in the basement of an Illinois funeral home, IFC will equip you with the tools you need to remain ‘Always On and Slightly Off’.
Collaborations with large social networks like Huffington Post’s and IFC’s memberships will ensure that Foursquare grows in relevance. You can now see a street or a neighborhood as an Indie film buff sees it, or hear breaking news from local HuffPo readers. This is ‘layering’, giving more and more information about geo-location.
Foursquare’s strength, as a company, is the input its users add. The value of Foursquare is the 4th Dimension it adds to maps: you know not just where you are, and the 3rd dimension of topographical information, but Foursquare layers add a 4th dimension, relevance and insider information. The physical world around you will be marked up by the cognoscenti.
Adding Huffington Post and IFC layers will greatly enhance the Foursquare experience and it will connect Foursquare with large, already faithful communities. Its a win-win for both sides and is SURE to be a big pebble tossed into the ocean of shared information.
Though the 4 dimensional layering of geo-located information is more concentrated in large cities, it is the small towns around the world that have the most to gain from strategic use of check-ins. The ripples of this layering will be exciting to watch.