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Foursquare gets better at local search with new filters on mobile

New iPhone and Android apps help people fine-tune place queries and push forward a strategy to make Foursquare king of local search.

Search filters in Foursquare Explore.

Foursquare released new versions of its iPhone and Android applications to help people narrow their searches and find just the right bar, restaurant, or coffee spot.

Application users can now fine-tune their place queries and use the filter button to tick off a number of attributes to find venues that are open now or places where friends have been in the past. People also can search by price range and sort results by best match or distance.

"When you're looking for somewhere to eat, sometimes you know exactly what kind of place you want -- cheap or fancy, sushi or Mexican, an old favorite, or a place you've never been," Foursquare said in a blog post. "With today's update for iOS and Android, Foursquare helps you find exactly what you want, whatever that may be."

The search options are meant to support Foursquare's quest to be king of local search. The 4-year-old startup has been on a mission to get people to see its application, which offers personalized venue suggestions through a feature called Explore, as a better option than Yelp.

For the average mobile consumer, Foursquare as a Yelp replacement -- and not a check-in service -- is a pitch they can understand. Wednesday's updates will help with that sell, but the company, which has 35 million users, still needs to do more if it wants to convince the masses to swap Yelp for Foursquare.