Foursquare has provided individuals with on-the-go recommendations on where to eat, drink, shop and so on since launching Explore on mobile. The company today released an update for its iOS app that makes finding these places even easier.

Explore enables members to search for a venue by category, name, or specific keyword. Foursquare recently made this feature available to everyone, regardless of whether they had an account or not. Now it’s adding new ratings to Explore recommendations.

Moving forward, when an individual searches for something in Explore, he or she will see a score from one to 10 next to the name of the venue. These ratings offer potential customers a quick sense of how much people love the location. Foursquare promises these are different from the other types of ratings you see today.

Instead of rating a venue through stars, Foursquare has decided to use the same “secret sauce” that powers Explore. The company looks at things like tips, likes, dislikes, popularity, loyalty, local expertise, and nearly 3 billion check-ins. And as more people check-in and interact with the venue, Foursquare’s scores will get smarter.

Right now, it’s too early to tell what kind of weight, if any, these scores will carry at first. It’s impossible to know if a low score will deter potential customers from visiting your venue. However, as Foursquare’s algorithm becomes smarter (thus providing scores that accurately reflect sentiments shared through tips, likes, and so on) we expect that these scores will become valuable metrics to local businesses.

[Image credit: Dennis Crowley]