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Foursquare gets pushy with fandroids, touchy Windows 8 bods

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Foursquare has started pushing itself into the Android notification bar and supporting Windows 8, as the company tries to turn its location-announcing app into a real business.

The latest version of Foursquare for Android doesn't wait for users to check in before telling them about local services in which they might be interested. Instead it just pushes the information onto their screen. Meanwhile, Windows 8 users, who've been feeling left out, can now get their own version of 2010's must-have app.

This isn't the first time Foursquare has interfered with live notifications. Foursquare Radar would sound an alert when, say, you hadn't been invited to the drinking session all your mates were enjoying – providing awkward scenes on demand – but this time it's different, as the company blog explains:

"Today, with everything that Foursquare has learned about the world, it can be proactive recommendations – helping you discover the greatest things nearby without even having to open the app."

Last month the company added pop-up advertising across its platforms; check in to a bar and Foursquare will suggest a tot of Captain Morgan's finest, which is all part of the new drive to be taken seriously by advertisers – and investors, of whom there are rather more than there used to be.

In February Foursquare raised another $41m, almost $2m of which is in debt rather than equity. That piles on the commercial pressure and makes one wonder at what point Foursquare will be making money rather than raising it.

Justifying the $41m it hoovered up in April this year, CEO Dennis Crowley likened the company to Google, explaining the cash was needed to fund analysis of its user data (including three-and-a-half billion check-ins, apparently) and provide "perfect recommendations" to users. But competing with Google et al is an expensive, and risky, business.

With so many competitors waiting in the wings, Foursquare can't afford to upset its existing users, so will likely tread carefully with push notifications, as well as (probably) letting users opt out if they wish. Yet, in common with all services funded through advertising, it's a narrow path to walk. ®

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