Foursquare, in Bid for Relevance, Shows Off 500 Million Check-ins

By Cameron Scott 

Foursquare published a map displaying its last 500 million check-ins, which it says it amassed over the last three months.

With the world map, the company is making a not-so-veiled claim for relevance in the wake of a critical report released earlier this month by PrivCo, a financial research firm that specializes in private companies. The report alleged that Foursquare has had trouble raising venture funding and is likely to be purchased this year for less that its total funding.

The rate of check-ins documented in Foursquare’s map is sync with the 5 million check-ins a day that PrivCo estimated. But the map shows the check-ins occur outside technology hotbeds like San Francisco and New York.

Foursquare points to the multiple uses of its location database — beyond just making pretty maps. First, it says, its data can serve up “amazing personalized recommendations,” the basis of its current business model.

But if that doesn’t work, the company implies, its database can still provide a “powerful location layer” for other applications.

“Because our location database is based on millions of check-ins every day, it’s incredibly reliable and up-to-date. That’s why everyone from Instagram and Bing to Flickr, Quora, Path, Soundtracking, Evernote, Garmin, and thousands of other developers use our location information to power their apps,” the company says in the blog post accompanying the map, delivering what sounds a lot like a pitch for a buyout.

Foursquare promises that it has “a lot planned for the coming months.”

Click on the map to go to an interactive version.