Foursquare dips into NFC with Android update


Foursquare is supporting NFC functionality with its latest Android app refresh, paving the way for a raft of additional activities using the much-debated technology. Initial NFC functions include the ability to check into participating venues by swiping smartphones at a check point, or sharing location information with friends, such as visited venue lists. Foursquare is now working with more venues to allow users to check in through NFC tags, as it becomes the first high profile social app to install support for the technology.

The move to integrate NFC chimes with Foursquare’s aims to reduce the level of activity needed to engage with its service. Users just need to tap their smartphone at a designated NFC point and the Foursquare app immediately activates, something Foursquare mobile and international VP, Holger Luedorf says “shaves valuable seconds off the check-in process”. Foursquare CEO, Dennis Crowley set out his vision of providing more automated features, such as real-time notifications service Radar, to drive user engagement, saying last year: “If we can lower that barrier, we can juice the experience.”

The move appears to be ahead of the company’s official plans, with Foursquare’s European business head, Omid Ashtari telling StrategyEye late last year: “We definitely want to support NFC in the future but it’s not on top of our priorities list yet. There are a lot of barriers for NFC to get mainstream adoption, but once the technology is mature we will certainly integrate it into Foursquare as well.”

However, Foursquare mobile and international VP, Holger Luedorf says there is value in adopting NFC, despite it still lacking wide-scale integration across smartphones and operating systems, telling that other platforms are set to embrace the platform in the future. Reports this month claim that Apple is planning to include NFC capabilities in its much-reported iPhone 5, which would likely accelerate the adoption of NFC-based services. Nokia is also said to be working with Microsoft to include the technology in its Windows Phone-based handsets, and Nokia’s industry collaboration VP Mark Selby recently labelled the mobile industry’s focus on NFC’s primary use as being related to payments as naive, saying that the true value of the technology lies elsewhere.

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