Foursquare was initially a check-in app that helped users find their nearby friends. Users said where they were on the app and friends could see the location in their feeds.
The problem with “checking-in” is that many people forget to open Foursquare and say where they are, or they simply don’t care to.
A secret project Foursquare has been working on called “Panda Time” finds your location without you having to do a thing.
Austin Carr of Fast Company explains how Panda Time, the future of Foursquare’s check-ins, operates:
“[Crowley] walks me through not just ‘Panda Time,’ the code name for the latest internal build of Foursquare, but also an even more secretive version of the product, which at the time only five employees have seen. The gist is that Foursquare no longer requires you to tell it where you are; the app is now smart enough to sense your location and offer recommendations for what to do while you’re there or after you leave. ‘I want the next Foursquare employee who comes in here to get a message that says, ‘Dennis was here two weeks ago–whatever you do, get the sausage,’ without having to open the app,’ Crowley says, locking me into his gaze. t’s a compelling prospect: If Google has built a $US294 billion business based on your explicit searches, Foursquare’s bet is that the data behind your implicit intent are just as lucrative.”
The implicit check-in isn’t a totally new idea for Foursquare. Earlier it launched a feature called Radar that could tell when users were nearby specific locations and send alerts, but it drained battery life and was faulty.
Carr writes that Foursquare engineers have spent eight months perfecting “Panda Time” and nailing the app’s accuracy. While Carr was at dinner with Crowley, Crowley’s phone buzzed, guessing correctly where the pair were dining.