Foursquare is looking to increase its visibility on the web by introducing new sharing buttons for publishers that will appear side-by -side with the Facebook "Like" and Google's "+1" buttons in some cases.
The buttons are being launched in partnership with Frommer's Travel, Eater.com, Time Out New York, Time Out Boston, Time Out Chicago, Time Out New York Kids, New York Magazine, AskMen.com and four CBS local sites but will be available to all publishers starting today.
Publishers will be able to install a "Follow on Foursquare" button on the landing page of their site to let users view their tips, check-ins and lists when they access the service. But the more ubiquitous button is likely to be "Save to Foursquare," which will surface alongside any location-related content on sites with structured metadata using OpenGraph and hCard formats, and will enable users to add venues to their "To-Do List."
Users with "Radar" -- a functionality enabled by the iPhone's iOS 5 update -- turned on will be notified when they're in close range of the saved venue, and the publisher's branding and a link to the article where the location was culled from will appear. Other users will access that content only when they actually check in to the location.
"Creating this button is basically the best way to bridge the gap between the things that you read online and then the things you want to experience in the real world," said Jonathan Crowley, Foursquare's director of media partnerships (and brother of co-founder Dennis Crowley.)
Foursquare tested an earlier iteration of the "Save" button starting in June 2010 with the Wall Street Journal, but the "Add to Foursquare" button was cumbersome to deploy, since it had to be manually programmed for every location instead of automatically detecting location-based metadata in the HTML of every page. It was never used by other publishers.
Foursquare is also rolling out a third new product, which is consumer-facing. Users can install a bookmarking extension in their browsers that can be used to save locations to their to-do lists while reading any piece of content on the web by clicking a button. The tool will search the page for as much location-based metadata as it can find, but if it doesn't produce a match, users can manually type what they're looking for into the tool.