Foursquare Gives Restaurant Owners More Ways to Check-in on Customers

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Foursquare overshares your ramen-eating habit.

It's unlikely to provoke the kind of outrage that followed Instagram's terms-of-service changes that gave the company more control of users' food porn, but Foursquare is now allowing participating merchants broader access to data revealing the eating, drinking, and spending habits of its users. Wired reports that Foursquare has amended its privacy policy, and starting January 28, the company will hand over more data to restaurant owners, for example, who will know the exact dates and times of any user's visit.

Under the old rules, merchants could only glean bits and pieces of user data if the Foursquare user was a top customer, for example, or if the merchant checked up on visitor stats at the right time. The broader spectrum of data points gives the company greater ability to sell ads to merchants that are custom-fit to customer habits, of course, but the social network company insists this is all about better business. "When you check-in to a particular location that is a ‘claimed location,’" says the new fine print, "your check-ins are shared with that location in order for it to better provide services to you."

In other words, Foursquare is claiming it's just trying to make sure your rigatoni Bolognese is available when you need it to be, or that there's already a fresh bowl of peanuts on the bar before you get your pint of pilsner, but good service is something that no restaurant or bar should ever need an algorithm to pull off.

Bartenders Get Your Foursquare Dossier [Wired]
Earlier: Instagram Now Owns All of Your Food Porn