Foursquare Hawking Data to Google, Yahoo, Bing

Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley says his location-based services startup is looking to ink data deals with indexing and search providers Google, Yahoo and Microsoft Bing.

Foursquare is looking to ink data deals with Google, Yahoo and Microsoft Bing in the search market, according to the company's CEO.

Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley told the Telegraph July 19 that his location-based services startup, which lets users earn badges by checking into bars and restaurants via an application on their mobile phones, is trying to bring Foursquare data to the major search engines.

"Our data generates hugely interesting trends which would enrich search," Crowley told the Telegraph.

Crowley, who left Google after the company acquired and squandered his startup Dodgeball, pointed to microblog site Twitter's deals with Google, Yahoo and Bing to illustrate how deals with Foursquare might work.

These search engines all suck in real-time tweets from Twitter's more than 100 million users and present them within relevant results.

While Twitter surfaces what people are talking about on search engines, Foursquare's data would "show venues which are trending at that moment." Data about people would be anonymized and just the most popular businesses would be listed, Crowley said.

ReadWriteWeb provides some very good examples of how Foursquare data might be used by search engines here.

Foursquare, which has just passed the 2-million-user mark, provides users with special deals with Foursquare partners, a move that keeps consumers playing the game.

For example, Starbucks offers $1 off any size Frappuccino for Foursquare "mayors" (Foursquare users who have had the most check-ins at a place in 60 days) and has seen a 50 percent increase in Foursquare check-ins at its locations.

Accordingly, Foursquare is perhaps the location-based service with the greatest upside out of Google Latitude, Google Buzz, Gowalla, Loopt and other comparable services toiling away in the nascent market.

While Crowley declined to discuss time frames for deals with Google, Bing and Yahoo, Foursquare already enjoys a minor integration with Microsoft's Bing Maps.

Bing Maps uses data from the Foursquare location-sharing application to help users track where their friends are in real time. Users can see who has unlocked specific badges and where, and who has been named mayor of certain venues.

"This is one of the first times we've really been able to visualize Foursquare on a map like this, which is great," Crowley said.

Foursquare banked $20 million in funding in July from Union Square Ventures, O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz.

The money will be used to hire more engineers and build out infrastructure as Foursquare prepares for the next growth spurt.