Foursquare, the app that encourages GPS “check ins” to places that you physically visit, has just added a new feature that its userbase has, apparently, been clamoring for for a long time.
Starting Tuesday, iOS and Android users are now able to check in their friends, Foursquare announced in a blog post.
Calling it the company's "most-requested feature," Foursquare noted that the vast majority of check-ins are social, as in they involve mentioning the other people you are with at the time.
"Since we launched mentions last year, we’ve noticed that most people use it to say who they’re with ‘Dennis’s birthday party,’ ‘Anniversary dinner with Katy,’ or ‘Going for a jog with Ray.’ In fact, well over 90% of mentions are like that people sharing who they are with," the company wrote.
"So, starting today, we’re making it easy for you to save your and your friends’ time – you can now check in your friends when you’re out together.
To check in other people, all a user has to do is tap "I'm with..." and then choose the relevant people from their friends list.
Of course, that friend may not want to be checked in, and that is where Foursquare came up with a pretty nifty solution: the people tagged in the check in will be given a notification, and will have to give permission to be tagged. If they decline the tag, they will only be mentioned but not linked.
Also, someone checks in on their own, either before or after their friends tags them, Foursquare will only show the tag done by that user.
The company has been trying hard to keep up with with other check in services, including Facebook,and adding this feature will allow Foursquare to better compete.
Meanwhile, the permission feature actually gives users more control over who can see where they are than Facebook does, and may help attract more users.
Foursquare was huge in 2009 and 2010, and then interest started to wane as other companies like Facebook got in on the check-in action.
The company has had to find new ways to not only stay relevant, but to monetize. In 2011, Foursquare partnered with Groupon to deliver location-based deals and discounts, but we all know how the daily deal industry ended up.
The company has since attempted to monetize through ads via its search engine, but that hasn’t been paying off as well as expected. Foursquare reportedly brought in just $2 million in revenue last year.
In April, Foursquare raised $41 million in a convertible debt round led by Silver Lake Partners’ Waterman growth debt fund. Existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, and Spark Capital also participated in the round all buying convertible debt. The round brings Foursquare’s total raised to $112.4 million.
By raising $41 million in debt rather than equity, Foursquare can deflect estimates of its real value, which has been pegged at some $600 million, despite bringing in just $2 million in revenue last year.