Microsoft has made an investment into Foursquare in what both parties hope will be a mutually beneficial partnership.
Having ploughed $15m (£9.2m) into the social media app, Microsoft is particularly interested in using Foursquare’s data to improve the results for its search engine Bing. With the app having information on millions of attractions and businesses from around the world at its disposal, Microsoft hopes that this largely user-created database will help it to provide more relevant search results and use localised knowledge to assist Bing users.
The data will also be integrated straight into Windows programs, including Microsoft’s Windows Phone offering, so that the company can develop the mapping and GPS side of its mobile output and more closely rival Google Maps and Apple’s Maps application. It is also likely that Windows Phone users could be ‘pinged’ if they walk past a highly recommended restaurant or store, meaning that localised search engine optimization could become even more important for smaller businesses.
For Foursquare – a mobile app through which users are able to earn awards and ‘badges’ for checking in at certain locations – Microsoft becomes the largest data licensee on its books, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Just over a month ago, Foursquare was valued at roughly $650m (just under £400m) after it announced it had received $35m (£21.5) in investments, meaning that this latest piece of funding from Microsoft adds to its already impressive growth.
In the U.S., Bing recorded its highest market share among search engines to date. It was responsible for 18.2% of American search – still some way behind Google’s 67.3%.