Foursquare location service adds comment, photos

Dec 20, 2010 By RACHEL METZ , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- Foursquare, a popular location-sharing service for smart phones, is now letting you upload a photo of that tasty burger you're about to bite into. You can also let your friend know, through a comment on his recent check-in at a bar around the corner, that you'll meet him when you're done chowing down.

Photos that you upload with check-ins will only be viewable by your friends on Foursquare and other social networks with which you share your Foursquare data. Those could include Facebook and Twitter.

You can also upload photos to go with tips or the location itself - such as to show a cool vintage sign on a building's facade. Those will be available for anyone using Foursquare to see.

Only your friends on Foursquare and friends of your friends will be able to view comments.

Foursquare is one of a growing number of startups that let users broadcast their location to friends and strangers using a phone application. By far the biggest among them is Facebook, which recently introduced Places.

Foursquare has more than 5 million users, and they check in with the site more than 1.5 million times each day. Users earn virtual badges once they've earned a certain number of check-in points or complete a task, such as riding a ferry. Users can become "mayors" by checking in at a location more than any other visitor.

The new features was rolled out in an updated app for Apple Inc.'s iPhone on Monday, and for smart phones running Google Inc.'s Android operating software next week. Users of Research In Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry smart phones will get the features in January.

Alex Rainert, Foursquare's head of product, said Friday that new features should enhance how users interact with each other and perhaps inspire them to add more information about the places they're going and things they're doing.

"Everything always ratchets back to building tools that change the way people experience the world around them," he said.

Foursquare plans to add more features, too, such as the ability to send your posted photos on to Facebook and photo-sharing site Flickr.

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