On April 16, Foursquare users around the world are planning to celebrate Foursquare Day, joining other local Foursquare users who love the benefits of the geolocation app as much as they do. The mayor of Las Vegas has officially declared it Foursquare Day, and the Mayor of Tampa – the city where Foursquare Day all began – has organized a city-wide scavenger hunt to help help gather Foursquare data and analyze services.
Foursquare Day began in 2010, when Nate Bonilla-Warford, an optometrist from Tampa, “was thinking of different ways to use Foursquare as a business. I then thought about the hook of 4/16 as a date [note: get it? 4/16 is four-squared.] and it made sense to organize a meetup on the same day. As I explained it to people, they instantly got it.” He then explained how the concept came to fruition two years ago.
Bonilla-Warford explains that while he has ranked cities in the past by number of attendees, he has recognized that Foursquare has become so mainstream that the celebration of now it really is about connecting with these people who love Foursquare, as well as communities and discovering new businesses. That said, he is minutely aware of what cities are showing the strongest numbers of potential participation. Currently, he believes Milano, in Italy, has the highest number of potential participants. Bonilla-Warford definitely believes “The nature of the events on Foursquare Day are definitely a reflection of the growth and usage pattern of Foursquare the application,” which only demonstrates how mainstream Foursquare has yet to become – especially internationally, which this year has been most interesting to the founders of Foursquare Day.
The service was created in late 2008 by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai and launched in 2009. Crowley had previously founded the similar project Dodgeball as his graduate thesis project in the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at New York University. Google bought Dodgeball in 2005 and shut it down in 2009, replacing it with Google Latitude. Dodgeball user interactions were based on SMS technology, rather than an application. Foursquare was the second iteration of that same idea, that people can use mobile devices to interact with their environment. Foursquare was Dodgeball reimagined to take advantage of new smartphones like the iPhone, which had built-in GPS to better detect a user’s location.
Until late July 2014, Foursquare featured a social networking layer that enabled a user to share their location with friends, via the “check in” – a user would manually tell the application when they were at a particular location using a mobile website, text messaging, or a device-specific application by selecting from a list of venues the application locates nearby. In May 2014, the company launched Swarm, a companion app to Foursquare City Guide, that reimagined the social networking and location sharing aspects of the service as a separate application. On August 7, 2014, the company launched Foursquare 8.0, the completely new version of the service which finally removed the check-in and location sharing entirely to focus on local search.
As of 2016, Foursquare had 50 million monthly active users. As of 2011, male and female users are equally represented and also 50 percent of users are outside the US.