Foursquare has been struggling with remaining a relevant social networking service for the past year or so, after almost any other social network has been adding at least some location-based services and features. That’s why Foursquare released a new app version last month which granted it more traditional social networking attributes.
Last week, Foursquare continued with this social enhancement trending by announcing on a major integration effort with third-party apps INSIDE the location-based social networking platform called “Connected Apps”. In other words, this new initiative will allow users to engage with other apps WITHIN Foursquare.
When users will connect the third-party app to Foursquare, they would receive updates, recommendations and information from the integrated app to their Foursquare account (for iOS and Android, BlackBerry soon). Foursquare already partnered with a handful of preview partners such as Sonar, Soundtracking, Foodspotting, The Weather Channel and Instagram (find here all current Connected Apps).
Want a few examples to understand how it works? By connecting The Weather Channel app, whenever users will check-in at a new city they will automatically receive a local weather forecast. By connecting Foodspotting, users can receive recommendation for dishes whenever they check-in on some restaurant.
Currently, this whole Connected Apps program is still being experimented and tested and it will be widely launched with more third-party apps later on this year (at the end of the summer or at the beginning of the fall). If you are a developer, the program’s features available in developer preview and you can read its documentation here.
Foursquare is taking a big bet here on third-party apps integration, but it seems like a right move. Foursquare’s last year growth strikes as pretty slow if not flat, and offering further incentives for users to use the check-in social king can help the company to grow beyond the current 20 million user-base.
However, it appears that for the long-run Foursquare will have even bigger challenges to overcome if it wants to survive. Take for instance Google Now which been also presented last week- It offers many similar (if not more) advanced location-based recommendation as Foursquare and it will be automatically assimilated in the future on Android devices.
But I have to admit that even though I have serious doubts if Foursquare can stay around in the next few years, Dennis Crowley proves that he has giant balls to check-in.