Microsoft And Foursquare Partnership Focuses On Local Search

Scott Lambert

In the rush to improve local search facilities for mobile devices, Microsoft has been in danger of being left behind. Now a deal with Foursquare could be about to change that by altering the way Bing looks at locations in Windows 8 and on the Windows phone. This will give Microsoft something it has long coveted: a clearer understanding of where its users are.

At $15m, the deal did not come cheap. Foursquare is expected to claim other advantages too, such as free advertising across some of its larger partner’s services. Though the details were not disclosed, it is understood that a license deal has been agreed upon that will enable Foursquare to continue making money when Microsoft uses its data.

Foursquare made a statement about the deal: “So in the near future, when you use Microsoft devices powered by the Windows and Windows Phone operating systems and products like Bing, places will be enhanced by Foursquare to provide contextually-aware experiences and the best recommendations of any service in the world.”

Bing has spent some years trying to improve its contextual awareness so that it can be more proactive in supplying users with the search results they want. Rather than relying on user check-ins, Foursquare can track movements unobtrusively so that Microsoft will know the users’ habits and can make immediate suggestions. As an example, this could be nearby restaurants when it notices that users are in unfamiliar places at a time when they usually eat lunch.

Despite the importance of this deal to Microsoft, it is not exclusive; Foursquare is free to make similar deals elsewhere. This suggests that Microsoft is not interested in the exclusivity of what its junior partner has to offer as much as how it can build on this service to develop a strong appeal to advertisers. Google, Facebook and Apple have all been through this process before, but they developed their systems around older, cruder location-fix systems.

Because all Foursquare’s users have, in signing up, consented to be tracked they are likely to have a more positive reaction to ads. If this can be shown to apply in practice, it may see a flood of new customers heading Bing’s way, potentially providing a solution to the search engine’s ongoing revenue problems. Meanwhile, the software start-up that everybody thought would go under sometime this year is now once again a real player.

Scott Lambert

Written by Scott Lambert

For 35 years, Scott has been at the forefront of digital transformation and how it is effectively applied in businesses and organizations to market, sell, and support customers and members more successfully and cost effectively. Scott is President and Co-Founder of Xcellimark, an award-winning digital marketing agency serving clients throughout the U.S., Canada, Central America, and Germany. Xcellimark helps businesses succeed through the implementation of its unique digital marketing and sales approach specifically designed to meet their specific goals and objectives. Scott’s marketing, sales, and operations experience have included key management positions at industry leaders including AT&T, iXL (now SapientRazorfish), eSchool Solutions (now TalentED), and BellSouth, where he led the product development, marketing efforts, and market launch of, the second public ISP developed in the U.S. Scott is the author of articles highlighted on leading online publishers such as LinkedIn, Business 2 Community, and he was recently featured by LinkedIn in the Entrepreneur magazine article on “No Time for Marketing? Hire a Freelancer.” His engaging personality and wealth of real-world and business experience make Scott a frequently requested speaker. Some of his engagements include being the featured speaker in a series of Orlando Business Journal seminars on Digital Marketing, speaking at the WSI London conference, and at international conferences in Belize. Scott has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Mississippi and a Master’s of Science in the Management of Technology from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Scott has been active in global mission efforts and is a board member of Global Teams, a Christian outreach organization. He lives in Winter Springs, FL with his wife Nancy and dog Sadie.

Topics: Local Search

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