Foursquare revamps site to highlight search engine

The location-based recommendations company treads into Yelp's market with a new site to encourage unregistered users to give it a whirl.

Donna Tam Staff Writer / News
Donna Tam covers Amazon and other fun stuff for CNET News. She is a San Francisco native who enjoys feasting, merrymaking, checking her Gmail and reading her Kindle.
Donna Tam
A screenshot of Foursquare's new site. Foursquare

Foursquare is rolling out a new website today that could lure new users to the location-based recommendations service and let it step into Yelp territory.

Update, 12:12 p.m. PT: Foursquare's new site is now live. Check it out here.

First reported by Search Engine Land, the redone site could help Foursquare reach a broader audience, which would increase its data -- the key to its socially driven recommendations.

The new site will feature a prominent search box, instead of the tiny search bar that is currently at the top of the page, and unregistered users will get to use the service -- without the social features the check-in app is known for.

The company started as a mobile app that let users check into locations and earn points. Throw in friends, their check-ins, tips and likes, and users have a personalized search engine for local goods and services. The company also uses your own check-ins and likes to dig up places that are similar to where you've been before.

Foursquare said it's in the process of adding more specific information to its listings, like when a place is open and price, but the current listings can be searched using terms like "cheap," or "late night," to produce similar results.

This idea of social search is a popular one. Yelp redid its site in August to highlight social connections, and Facebook has talked about taking it a step further, with a search engine that willmine your friends' profilesto create recommendations.