Foursquare's 'super-specific' search offers customized local search

Foursquare recently debuted a new "super-specific" search as a way to let users further customize their local search queries in an accessible way that isn't yet available via Yelp, Google Plus or Facebook Graph Search. For example, there's no need to check boxes for type of cuisine, price, number of stars and location when searching for a restaurant - as one typically needs to do in Yelp - to get the best results.

In fact, Foursquare's new uber-specfic search seems to be for those who don't really know what they're looking for. In its announcement, Foursquare challenges users to search things like "A cheap sushi place that's nearby and open now, but that I haven't been to yet," or "One of the museums in Paris that my friend Matt went to last year, that's also near my hotel" or even "A Moroccan restaurant that has tagines on the menu, but isn't going to empty my bank account."

Foursquare has seen several changes in the past few months, only recently shifting from a service primarily for users to check in on to what is now a local search option, and it seems likely to become a bigger presence in the social and local search space soon. Also, Foursquare and Gnip - a data-collecting and anonymizing business - recently announced a partnership that will finally allow Foursquare to harness its gold mine of data. Now, business owners will have complete access to real-time user data. This means that small-business owners will be able to see check-ins as they happen. However, user privacy will be protected, as all of the data is anonymized so those trying to make use of the analytics can do so without breaching users' trust.

With all of the new changes, small-business owners should start taking advantage of Foursquare's customized search now if they haven't already. According to Darin Berntson, an SEO expert, Foursquare is on-par with Google analytics because it offers free data to business owners, which encompasses top visitors, recent visitors, unique visitors in a given period, first-time customers and check-ins at local businesses, among other valuable data. Berntson also said that there are many "superusers" - people who use Foursquare consistently - who are likely to suggest changes to a listing and provide business owners with a lot of valuable feedback.