announced today that it has gone beyond allowing users to check-in to places and now includes events as well. Hundreds of thousands of events being held in more than 50,000 places (many no doubt movie theaters) will become visible, in some cases hours before an event begins and in other cases summary information for things like sporting events will be delivered after an event concludes.Foursquare, the much-discussed location-based social network,
The most interesting part of the announcement is the inclusion of additional information by venue or event hosts. ESPN is partnering with Foursquare, for example, and is including both timeless Tips about sporting locations and after-action game summaries in the Foursquare news feed. If this points towards a larger trend of more, richer and more timely information becoming a big part of Foursquare, then that's a very good sign.
Jenna Wortham says in New York Times coverage of the feature that according to Foursquare, "the new features will simply formalize the standard behavior of its users. It's quite common for those using the service to announce what they're doing when they check in at a place."
Indeed, the feature looks and feels big and new because it's introducing another dimension of engagement. In another way, though, this looks a lot like Foursquare brand pages - where organizations have had the option to publish sets of tips that would be pushed to their fans when they checked in at places. That hasn't caught on nearly as much as it ought to. This week's introduction of Tips Lists is another great feature that may or may not strike the fancy of users.
Will Foursquare's implementation of support for Events catch on with a significant number of publishers and will it work for users? If the future of location based services is changed dramatically by the expected rise of persistent location tracking, will Foursquare Events be able to meaningfully support new, real time use cases? Time will tell.
I really like this idea, but it's not clear that Foursquare itself is going to grow into a major social network. Whether publishers and users engage meaningfully with this new feature remains to be seen.