Yes, Foursquare has offered business tools for some time now, but if you look at most of the company’s developments over the past year or so, they’ve been largely on the consumer side:
- the new mobile app experience
- the new check-in history page
- adding restaurant reservations via OpenTable
- the new search and discovery options
- adding restaurant menus
Heck, Foursquare is even pitching today’s news on the consumer side, saying that “keeping up with the places you love has never been easier!”
But, make no mistake, this is a tool for local business owners.
The deal is that business owners can now send out updates via the Friends’ Activity tab to their most frequent customers/visitors, and to anyone that’s “liked” the business.
In other words, businesses are now being treated (to a degree) like friends.
It’s a big step on the PUSH side of marketing, and no doubt sets the stage for even bigger news that should be coming soon: Some kind of push-based advertising platform that will allow businesses to advertise to consumers that are in their immediate vicinity.
This becomes, then, sort of a testing ground for that later ad program — a way to get Foursquare users familiar with the idea of getting push messaging from businesses.
Postscript, July 19th: It’s a day later, and Foursquare has now posted about this again. This time, the announcement is more geared toward business owners. It includes details about a number of new features for business owners, not just the Local Updates mentioned above.