Whether you’re an avid Foursquare checker-inner or simply know of the product (it allows people to gain points and other virtual prizes by checking into almost location using a smartphone), you might want to be careful about where you check in. That’s because Foursquare is in talks with unleashing the so-called fire hose of data (like Twitter did with Google and how tweets now appear in Google results) for a price. That means the search engines that purchase the fire hose can incorporate the data in any way they wish.
Examples Of What Should Happen
- Imagine a Google Map of EVERY Foursquare check-in happening live. You could monitor your friends’ locations using this map and perhaps even #edchat and other Twitter trends.
- What about seeing how crowded a restaurant is by googling the restaurant and being able to see that 400 people are ‘checked in’ there. Might cause you to find a different place to grab some grub!
- Google, Bing, and Yahoo could start getting in on some of the Foursquare excitement and offer deals via Foursquare that would be similar to the popular Groupon.
For example, Bing has already incorporated some Foursquare data into results, showing some Foursquare ‘shouts’ and other reviews on Bing Maps:
Before you get too concerned that your personal whereabouts will be broadcast to everyone on the Internet, there is hope. Foursquare has told The Telegraph (UK) that check-in and other data can be anonymous so search queries simply return numbers-based results and don’t’ show identifying information.
Nothing is certain right now as there are no official deals just yet (that we know of). According to the Telegraph (UK), Foursquare’s co-founder Dennis Crowley is excited and willing to make a deal happen.
Crowley did not give a timeframe as to when the search deals could be signed off, but said it was an exciting time and the company was talking to “a lot of different potential partners” which were interested in Foursquare’s data.
Only time will tell if we see a deal between Foursquare and the major search engines get inked soon. It would appear that now would be the best time for a deal to happen as Foursquare is gaining momentum on a daily basis.