Foursquare restores Nearby Friends feature after user outcry

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Foursquare has updated its location-enabled mobile social networking application to restore a friend-finder tool removed two months earlier.

Foursquare - NearbyFriends for BlackBerry

On BlackBerry devices, foursquare users can tap the Friends icon to switch between the two views.

Foursquare dramatically overhauled its user experience in June, de-emphasizing its signature virtual check-ins to focus on personalized recommendations and user interactions. Casualties of the revamp included Nearby Friends, a feature enabling users to pinpoint their personal contacts' whereabouts and activities. Foursquare users on iPhone and BlackBerry may now toggle between Nearby Friends and All Activity views; the update will roll out to the Android platform in the near future.

Foursquare credits consumer feedback as the catalyst behind Nearby Friends' return, calling it the app's "most-missed" feature. "Some people use foursquare to keep up with all of their friends, but sometimes you just want to know what's going on in your city," foursquare said.

The revised foursquare streamlines the bottom navigation bar from five tabs to three: Friends, Explore and Me, with the Check-In tab replaced by a Check-In button present in the upper right-hand corner present across all screens. The Friends tab enables users to identify their contacts' whereabouts, "like" their check-in status or mention them in a post. The Explore button highlights nearby points of interest based on the user's check-in history and friends' foursquare activity, complete with consumer reviews and merchant offers, and the Me tab collects the user's foursquare tips, check-in badges and to-do lists, also aggregating their personal contacts and photos.

Foursquare now tops 20 million users worldwide, with check-ins at local venues eclipsing the 2 billion mark. Last month, foursquare began trialing Promoted Updates, a new paid advertising initiative that heralds a major step toward monetizing its platform. Promoted Updates spotlight deals from local merchants via the app's Explore recommendation engine; merchants pay foursquare only when consumers check into their business, unlock a special or otherwise interact with their promotion.

For more:
- read this foursquare Blog entry

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