Foursquare just quietly released a chat bot for finding restaurants
Foursquare is dipping its toes into the world of chat bots.
The location discovery company has a new app called Marsbot, which bills itself as "your trusted friend that can recommend places to you by learning from your preferences and the places you go every day."So instead of looking up where you want to go and reading tips from other Foursquare users, the bot learns your preferences and recommends places for you like a virtual concierge.
The chat-based app was quietly released on Tuesday in the App Store by Foursquare. It joins the ranks of the main Foursquare app (a Yelp competitor), and Swarm, the company's location check-in social network.
"Marsbot helps you discover new places by learning what you like and then sending you recommendations via text," the app's description reads. "Unlike a chatbot or personal assistant, Marsbot isn't here to answer your questions or help you do your laundry; instead Marsbot pays attention to your habits and learns about the places you go. From there, Marsbot can send you suggestions about great places to eat and drink that are worth seeking out nearby."
Work on the app began a few months ago, Foursquare product manager Marissa Chacko said on the company's blog. The idea was to "create a product that tells you where to eat or drink before you think to ask for it," she said. "It would deliver contextually-aware, proactive recommendations for awesome food and nightlife spots via the simplest communications channel possible: text."
The main Foursquare app has already been using the company's advanced location tracking technology to send relevant tips and recommendations based on where you are through notifications. Marsbot sounds like the evolution of that approach with a chat interface.
Foursquare's description says that Marsbot is still in the "early stages of testing." If you want to try it, you'll have to download it from the App Store (no Android version yet) and sign up for the wait list. Foursquare will start testing the service for users in New York City and San Francisco first.