Foursquare Joins the Search Engine Communityby Developer
Happy Friday the 13th, everyone! Instead of feeling superstitious, today I’m simply reminding myself of 13 things I’m thankful for. Number one, of course, is that it’s Friday. Number two is that it’s flurrying in Atlanta today. The rest are pretty silly, except for one: I’m thankful for Google’s recent “Search Plus Your World.” Why? Because all the bickering going on because of it gives us something to snicker about, and because its results have left us with something super cool to blog about. Google? We don’t need no stinkin’ Google – at least, foursquare doesn’t (right now, Twitter would like to believe that its microblogging platform doesn’t either – but let’s not go there)! Something that started as a gimmick targeting mostly the tech community has evolved into a search engine all its own, at the same time that Google has angered the social networking community with its significant changes.
What IS she talking about?
Just yesterday, foursquare announced that it is rolling out its own search engine, called Explore (foursquare.com/explore), describing it as a product of the company’s vision to add “an ‘interesting’ layer to the whole world, tailored just for you.” How does foursquare set its search engine apart from the usual suspects? By focusing on its ability to cater to you, the user:
“Most real-world searches are one-size fits all. You search for pizza, and it gives you the same list of pizza places, whether you like deep dish or thin crust, whether you want a slice or a sit-down meal, or whether your friends would love it or hate it. But not with foursquare Explore, because you are your friends’ (along with 1,500,000,000 more from the foursquare community) help us personalize our recommendations for you. Every you time you check in, we get better at finding places you’ll like.”
Cool functions – like, the box you can check to specifically narrow your search down to places you haven’t yet been to, and the ability to check out foursquare’s recommendations for you in another city based on the places you have been to in your own city – make this new local-focused search engine the next big thing to watch this year. Check out what it looks like:
Image courtesy of foursquare.
Interesting, In Light Of…
As we noted at the beginning of this post, what we’ll call “foursquare’s inverted Google” move (Because a social network branched out into search, while Google, a search engine, branched out into social! Copyright, trademark, whatever – I hereby claim this phrase as my own) interestingly comes in the wake of Google’s controversial integration of (only) Google + information with search results (some have said that they have seen Google + seep into the SERPs even when they aren’t signed into their Google accounts). While we have seen previous surveys that say people don’t use social networks to search for local businesses as much as we would have expected they would, we all know that social networks are where all the people are. And that’s why it’s so brilliant that Foursquare is now claiming its spot in the search market place – and is giving its 1.5 billion users (that’s how many people use check-ins, seriously!)a way to search local. Foursquare has taken all it has learned from those who check-in and has turned it into an information source.
Also Interesting in the Social Marketing World
Speaking of the popular social networks, there’s some new news regarding Facebook out today. Greg Finn of Search Engine Land/Marketing Land reports on recent data concerning Facebook, both that the social network could reach 1 billion users by this summer (by mid-August, to be exact), but that it could also slowly be losing some of its social market share (if the UK is an accurate indicator, that is). In December, Facebook’s social market share was down by 7% according to The Telegraph. Though there’s no solid data to reflect this, most agree that this has a lot to do with Google +. Likely, it will only continue to progress this way with Google +’s integration into the SERPs, and many people wanting to get a piece of the search rankings pie (or, many people enjoying the fact that your whole like could be found in one place – on Google – if you commit to using its social network!).
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