Microsoft Invests $15m in Foursquare for a Slice of Mobile Data

Windows Phone may not be the best mobile OS in the world, but it’s Microsoft’s brainchild, so the company needs to improve it continuously. This partnership with Foursquare will bring mobile users entertainment and restaurant suggestions at their fingertips.

Cortana, the voice-activated assistant that Microsoft is working on, will provide location data from Foursquare, thanks to this collaboration. The Redmond company wants more than just to provide an app for checking-in, as it intends to make the whole experience a lot more interactive. By doing so, Microsoft will take on Apple’s Siri and Google Now.

Dennis Crowley, CEO of Foursquare admitted that “This is huge validation for the stuff we’ve been working so hard on. It’s one of the leaders in the space we work in looking at us and saying we can really help power the next generation of devices.”

Cortana is going to be one of the revolutionary features of Windows Phone 8.1, which is supposed to be launched in a few months, Samsung Huron being among the main devices to sport the new version of this operating system.

Zig Serafin, a VP in Microsoft’s Bing search unit, explained how Cortana’s location data will change things: “We’re building some contextually aware experiences to power some upcoming products in Windows Phone. This will be for anywhere you get a Bing-powered experience.”

While I’m not a big fan of Windows Phone (OK, OK, I admit it, I’m an Android fanboy), I think that this operating system progressed quite a lot since its launch. Yes, it moved slowly, but the changes are impressive. Moreover, I’m glad to see such strategic partnerships, especially when Foursquare is involved in them.

I read a few months ago an article about how this service would vanish completely, now that Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are so widely used. The author of that article argued that all these social networks, which enable their users to check-in, render Foursquare obsolete, but I’d beg to differ. One tiny example that sets 4sq apart from all the others is the ability to see a history of your check-ins. Want to visit a city you haven’t been to in a few years? Browse the approximate period and find out exactly the names of those restaurants or touristic attractions that impressed you the most.

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