I see it from time to time these days. I arrive at a bar or concert venue, take out my phone, and load Foursquare. Then I see the looks. Some people even ask:
"Is that Foursquare"?
"People still use that?"
Most people I know think of Foursquare as "just that app to use to be mayor of a place". That is not the case at all anymore. Over the years it has morphed into a useful took for tracking the places I go, finding new ones, and even remembering certain meals and drinks I had at certain places. It is one of my favorite social discovery apps.
When I am using Foursquare, only about half the time am I using it to check in. The other half, I am scouting new places I might not have been to yet. If I am in the mood to have dinner and want to try something new, I will most likely be using Foursquare over Yelp. Why? First, Yelp review suck. People are friggin idiots and will give a 1 star review for the most stupid reason ever. When I am looking for some info on an restaurant or bar, I don't want to take the advice of some tool who didn't like a place because his sandwich wasn't cut the right way. I want to know who out of my own friends has been to a place, how many times, and what they like on the menu.
Thats why the explore feature on Foursquare rocks and completely blows Yelp away when it comes to discovery. It will tell me places I haven't been to and if any of my friends recommend anything there. I can filter those results by "Best Nearby" which seems to be based on how well the place is scored by people checking in as well as if my friends have been there. I'm sure other things factor in like if there are deals going on at that spot, or more simply, the type of food/drink I am looking for. I can also look through non food & drink related items such as shopping areas and sightseeing places. Out of all the categories though, I find that the ones I peruse most are "Trending" and "Recently Opened". You can find some GREAT spots this way.
Even more, if I see a place that looks good that I don't want to visit today, I can easily save it to a to-do list or even create my own lists to get really specific on things I want to remember.
Finally, one of my favorite things about Foursquare is that is tracks where I go and how often (as long as I am checking in of course). This is great for knowing how often you go to the gym, or in my case, yoga. While it is pretty basic, the stats are a nice little feature that give you little factoids about where you've been and the last time you were at a similar place. Some might not care but I find it all pretty interesting.
Like lots of things out there, Foursquare might not be for everyone, but what most people don't know is that is has evolved a lot over the past few years. What was once an app that primarily let you know how many times you have visited a bar or restaurant and who exactly has visited the most has become a tool where you can find new places, mark ones you want to visit later, find deals, and find out what the best cocktail on the menu might be. It is one of my most used apps and I think that if you haven't tried it in a while, you'd be presently surprised with what you find.