Dennis Crowley Reveals His Plans for Foursquare’s Mountain of Data

3/20/13Follow @jpruth

At last night’s New York Tech Meetup, Foursquare CEO and co-founder Dennis Crowley talked about some of his company’s plans for its technology and wealth of data, which he said can curate places and events that users of the app may want to visit.

He displayed a video heat map of daily Foursquare check-ins in Manhattan that demonstrated how the company captures what is happening in the city based on where, when, and why users check in. “Every single day, every single city around the world lights up for us,” he said.

Much like a digital field in the movie “Tron: Legacy” blooming with color, the heat map of Manhattan displayed last night blossomed with scads of Foursquare check-ins that took place over the course of a day. Yellows represented coffee shops and movie theaters while greens and blues were associated with nightlife.

“Anywhere around the world, I can tell you where people are going to be 15 minutes from now,” Crowley said. “Tell me five things you like in San Francisco, I can predict 20 things you’re going to like in New York or Chicago. This is the power of what we can do with this data. People are just starting to get hip to it.”

Here’s an overlay of 500 million Foursquare check-ins from a three-month period from around the world.

Crowley’s plans for Foursquare’s technology and data range from passive location-based notifications sent to users when they enter neighborhoods to new services that will let businesses target deals at specific types of consumers, such as those who have patronized rival shops.

“We’re in the process of rolling out tools that allow merchants to run those types of offers,” he said. Foursquare already offers businesses the option to pay to promote specials and discounts at their stores when people check-in.

It was rather appropriate for Foursquare to talk up its future at New York Tech Meetup. The company showed off its concept in 2009 at the forum before its services even launched. Crowley said, he and co-founder Naveen Selvadurai were looking for a hometown boost before braving the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, TX for the official Foursquare debut.

“We were literally afraid people were going to laugh us off the stage [in Texas],” Crowley said.

Part of Foursquare’s early focus, he said, centered on putting playfulness in social … Next Page »

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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