One of the hottest areas in tech right now is transforming people’s data into suggestions about they what might like. At the PICNIC convention in Amsterdam today Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley revealed that he and his co-workers have been experimenting with their own recommendation engine.
The system is pretty simple so far. Crowley referred to it as the “internal lunch tool”, which sounds a little surgical, but anyway. The new feature looks at factors like where you’ve eaten, who your friends are and what’s on your to-do list. Then it recommends a place to nosh.
Crowley’s talk also highlighted ways Foursquare plans to expand on game mechanics, which were a big part of Foursquare’s early appeal. Users would gain experience points for checking into a lot of sushi restaurants for example. Their opinion would then count for more when it came to certain recommendations.
As the watch-dog blog About Foursquare notes, this is part of an important transformation the Crowley has been stressing. To compete with giants like Facebook, which now has check-ins through Facebook Places, Foursquare will have to move beyond the simple check-in. This recommendation feature, or “manufactured serendipity” as Crowley called it, seems like a good way to deepen the Foursquare experience.