Dennis Crowley: Foursquare's a discovery and recommendation engine first, social service second

Plenty of Foursquare fans use the app primarily as a means to share their own location and see the locations of others around them, but Foursquare isn't only about socially-acceptable stalking. At the GigaOm Mobilize conference today, company co-founder Dennis Crowley informed those of us in the room that thinking of Foursquare as merely a check-in app is misguided. According to him, the plan for Foursquare has always been for it to be a customized discovery and recommendation engine first, and a social tool second. You see, all your check-ins provide Foursquare with valuable information about you and your friend's habits. Those check-ins, as far as Foursquare's concerned, are merely an efficient means to get the data needed to build the individualized, location-aware search and recommendation engine that powers the explore tab in the app. Crowley said that he's been hearing plenty of positive feedback from users about the accuracy and usefulness of Foursquare-powered search, and some folks have even begun using it instead of Google. Foursquare isn't on Mountain View's level just yet, but it seems that Crowley and his cohort have the reigning king of search squarely in their sights.