The new version of the app, available for iOS and Android, comes along with a sleek redesign and small performance boosts. According to the company, the new alerts are designed to create the right balance between performance and battery life, as recommendations are useless if they constantly drain the phone of power. Interestingly, Foursquare 7.0 does not use any background app features — notorious iPhone battery-killers that, in providing up-to-the-minute changes in information, ultimately end up draining the battery even when the app is not in use.
It’s clear that Foursquare is making an earnest effort to make unobtrusive, sustainable, and informative passive location alert technology, but that’s a tall order. A large portion of what makes passive alerts useless is that for many users, it’s just not feasible to expect a phone to constantly fetch GPS or location data. The sheer limitation on technology might be to Foursquare’s ultimate detriment, as it has plenty riding on this deal (including $41 million in debt financing), but executing a great passive location app could solve the service’s great problem: being essential to its users.