Location And Foursquare Are Hot News Again…
Just last week Foursquare announced a $15 million investment from Microsoft with the intent of Bing and other services leveraging the incredible added value of Foursquare’s check-in database.
Now we are reading in Recode about Marissa Mayer’s bid for Yahoo to utilize Yelp reviews for similar purposes by licensing their content.
Just to segue momentarily, I began writing this post before these pieces of news came along and forced me to sit and rethink my perception of the subject (but only slightly). That said this resulted in some major rewriting and ummm challenge of having predictions proven right before I could finish and post the darn thing.
Looking at the post on Foursquare’s blog announcing the news there are some key pieces of information to be digested:
“…60,000,000 entries and 5,000,000,000 check-ins” is an incredible measure of success and the Microsoft investment speaks volumes about how the data behind all these check-ins will contribute to Windows and Windows Phone apps and services.
I’ve postulated in the past that Foursquare is the source of consumer behavioral / business intelligence just waiting to be analyzed but putting that aside for a moment the key phrase in Foursquare’s blog post announcing Microsoft’s investment is “contextually aware experiences”.
Context, context, context!
So, what does context mean with regard to location and check-ins?
We can classify check-ins according to: –
- Location Name.
- Expected Activity.
- Expected Duration (a function of Expected Activity).
- Habitual (or not).
- Recommendation: explicit when a user adds a strong comment, implicit when they are a frequent or habitual check-in or the Mayor in Foursquare’s case.
Does context simply mean this or is there another layer of data and usage just waiting for Yahoo or Microsoft to take advantage of?
The Warptest POV
Referring back to my segue about having to rewrite this post, I was hurriedly finishing up my post when a post in Twitter on my split screen caught my eye on the Verge about Project Cortana on Windows Phone using Foursquare. The phrase I was writing before I read this post was that “contextually aware services will evolve the Smartphone into the Intelligent Phone” at this point though I decided to pour myself a single malt and not get frustrated at being beaten to the punch three times on one post.
Whether the rumor of the voice activated, interactive Cortana “AI” is correct or not, the evolution of Location and Check-Ins is here. Whether Microsoft and Yahoo attack this in the same direction or not we’ll have to wait and see.
IMHO “contextually aware services” should be aiming for these kind of cases. If I check-in at a coffee-shop then unless I habitually take meetings there (and share that) the expectation is I’ll be there for coffee and maybe a bite to eat; especially if this the coffee shop I use en route to my “I’m at work” check-in. In a nutshell, context should allow us to realize how long based on location someone is expected to be there before they actually check-out.
Context also needs to offer greater monetization opportunities: If I check-in every day at the start of my run and mention a brand of running shoe (or even if I don’t) then a smart sports store nearby could follow me, extrapolate based on average run time / distance the wear on my shoes and after several months offer me a discount coupon for a new pair of running shoes.
Even simpler is the idea of e-coupons for whatever retail outlet you check-in: the moment a habitual (read loyal) customer checks-in the e-coupons should appear in a notification.
This is the “evolution of
the Smartphone into the Intelligent Phone”. Having Cortana deliver this to me intuitively and automatically will make it so.
At the end of the day winning in Locational Social Mobile will not just depend on which data provider the content discovery and services build on but on the added value they offer as a result. A big question is but how will Yahoo compete on Mobile Services and Apps not just in browser search?
Are you ready to check-in?