Finally I'm seeing a payoff for the ridicule I've endured for continuing to use Foursquare. I'm not really a hardcore user because I probably forget to check into places I visit about 50% of the time, but when I do check in I get one of two reactions if I'm with someone: if they're an "online" person they say "Are you still using that goofy service?" and if they're a Luddite they say "Is that another one of those stupid social media things you're into?" My reply is usually a shrug or I'll say, "Well sometimes I can get a discount." But all this time what I've really been hoping for is a way to track where I go and the kinds of places I prefer and finally Foursquare has come through with Time Machine.
This screenshot below is a map that shows my 1200+ checkins over the last few years and some graphs that show the kind of places I like visit. It won't surprise anyone who knows me that I really like coffee shops.
Here's what's really smart about it though: the time machine then asks if I want to see the future and then takes the opportunity to recommend places to visit based on my history. What I like about this is it highlights parts of Foursquare that I haven't used, didn't really realize I could use, and will now probably utilize. Basically they've helped me understand that this could be much more than just a gimicky, fun, service as Fred Wilson pointed out in his post about Time Machine:
I've been using Foursquare for about four years and have checked in almost 5,000 times. That's an average of 3.4x a day. No wonder Foursquare is so good at making recommendations for me when I am in places I don't know much about.
I plan on testing Foursquare's recommendations on my next trip. As I use the recommendations I'll probably realize that if I were to check in more often I would get even better recommendations, which will lead to more check ins, which will lead to better recommendations, etc.