Yesterday Foursquare began rolling out its real-time recommendations feature to a “small batch” of iPhone users. Already available on Android, the feature uses a phone’s location to make automatic recommendations for businesses nearby.

Unlike Radar — which reminded people to check in and let them know they were close to places saved to lists — real-time recommendations are proactive and help people discover things nearby without having to open the app.

The functionality makes Foursquare even more useful for consumers who already have the app installed. Now the company will deliver great recommendations whether or not someone checks in, which might not always be at the top of someone’s to-do list.

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Local businesses benefit because they no longer have to rely on consumers opening and interacting with the app for their venues to be seen. Now all it takes is someone to be nearby. Additionally, the recommendations can also display tips, so if hundreds of people love your gluten-free muffins, that information can be shared with potential customers as well.

Currently only a limited number of iOS users have access to the new functionality. Foursquare promised that it will be made available to more iPhone users with each passing day.

In addition to expanding real-time recommendations, the company also added two new search features: a Nearby button and the “Friends at a Glance” feature that displays most recent check-ins by friends.

[Via: Search Engine Land, Image credit: waferboard]