Foursquare releases "best of" guide based on 3 billion check-ins


Want to know where to get the best Tex-Mex in Austin? Or how about the locals' favorite bookstore in San Francisco? Well, Foursquare will let you know what it thinks.

The check-in social network rolled out its "best of" guide today based on more than 3 billion member check-ins and tens of millions of user tips, likes, and dislikes. The guide shows the top places users checked into in 2012 in 30 cities across the U.S., such as New York, Atlanta and Honolulu.

"There are plenty of lists of great places out there -- some are curated by editors, some by food critics, and others by people with really strong opinions about brisket," Foursquare wrote in a blog post. "Here at Foursquare, our approach to figuring out the best places is a little different: we've analyzed our billions of check-ins and put together lists of places that people love most, based on where they've actually been."

The social network has more than 30 million members, all of whom, it seems, have opinions and preferences for where they go drinking, which museums they frequent, and which parks are the best for relaxing.

"One of the things our data shows is how each city is unique," Foursquare wrote, "Bostonians love seafood, Portland is a veggie paradise, and Philly may be the city of brotherly love, but what they really love is a good sandwich."

By the way, according to Foursquare users, Chuy's is said to serve up Austin's best Tex-Mex and Green Apple Books is San Francisco's most beloved bookstore.

Foursquare is continuing to morph from a check-in social network into a more comprehensive location search engine -- putting it in direct competition with other recommendation and rating services, such as Yelp.

In November, the company launched its 10-point scoring system for local business and in October it launched its new Web site, which is open to nonmembers and has a prominent search box. Foursquare recently rolled out its iPhone and Android apps for merchants, which are designed to let business owners more easily manage their presence on the social network.

This article originally appeared on CNET under the headline "Foursquare reveals the 'best of' based on 3 billion check-ins."

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    Dara Kerr, a freelance journalist based in the Bay Area, is fascinated by robots, supercomputers and Internet memes. When not writing about technology and modernity, she likes to travel to far-off countries.