Foursquare To Sell User Data

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The white hot location-based services startup Foursquare is looking to share data from its 2-million-subscriber user base with one of the big three search companies. The company is talking with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft, according to an interview in The Telegraph Monday.

Foursquare’s service lets users “check in” at various locations using their mobile phones, letting their friends know where they are. Users receive badges for checking in at various locations or times, making it into a game, kind of like a virtual scavenger hunt.

Co-founder Dennis Crowley told the UK newspaper that the company was shopping its data around to “everyone,” and hopes to do for locations what Twitter did for topics.

“We can anonymize data and use it to show venues which are trending at that moment. Twitter helped the world and the search engines know what people are talking about. Foursquare would allow people to search for the types of place people are going to – and where is trending – not what,” Crowley said.

Foursquare has often been compared to Twitter, which has also shared its stream of user updates with major search engines.

The New York-based starup revealed last week that it had hit the 2 million member mark. Foursquare also received a $20 million infusion of capital in June, and was valued at $96 million. Not bad for a company that was founded in 2008.

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