Foursquare Gallery Directs You to Stores

Bravo Foursquare page

Foursquare, the location-based app that members use to “check in” to their locations and allow friends to see their whereabouts, recently added a Pages Gallery to help users sort through its network of brands.  What’s truly remarkable is the number of companies that have joined with the site: There are currently 1,323 brands on the site, all featuring tips, recommendations, and other specifically-tailored content.

Of course, up until now, most Foursquare profiles have been virtually invisible to most users. Mashable identifies the reason as accessibility — most profiles weren’t that accessible, and few people even knew they existed.  As such, Foursquare launched its gallery to help bring them to the spotlight and help us sort through them all.

When Foursquare-rs follow brands like Zagat or Bravo, they gain access to those companies’ brick-and-mortar recommendations.  Bravo’s Foursquare page, for instance, guides followers to restaurants and stores recommended by the network’s reality TV stars.  (Jill Zarin of the Real Housewives of Orange County says to order the lettuce wraps at Mr. Chow in Beverly Hills!)

For users who strongly identify with a particular site, publication, channel, etc. that happens to have a Foursquare profile, the new gallery is a boon for connecting brands and their fans.  What’s interesting is that this might mark a shift in the way Foursquare is used — ’til now, the general order of things has been to go somewhere, then check in. But following brands and their recommendations, at least in theory, will influence which physical locations Foursquare users wind up visiting in the first place.

What we’d like to see is how much this new tactic pushes the app toward becoming a general clearinghouse for competing brands’ authority.