Previously Foursquare has focused on what an individual is doing and building expertise through check-ins, tips, and recommendations. Now the company is utilizing iOS 5 to bring real-time alerts to an individual’s mobile device through a new feature called Radar.

Foursquare is a popular location-based social media application that allows people to check in at a variety of businesses and venues. Radar is meant to help a user interact with a person or place he or she finds important.

For example, a user that follows a Foursquare list or adds a venue to his or her To-Do List will be notified when he or she is near that location. Additionally if a few friends are hanging out nearby, the app will notify the user so everyone can meet up. The app doesn’t even have to be open to work.

This is similar to what Google offers with Latitude and Apple’s newest iOS 5 feature called Find My Friends – both are location-based apps that helps users locate people they know nearby.

Radar is a great reason to get your business or venue featured on a Foursquare List. Consumers have smartphones with them at all times. Telling a user that he or she is close to a location is great, but it’s also beneficial for merchants to gain more exposure about your specials or deals.

[Image credit: Tamas]