Foursquare is evolving into a mobile platform much more serious than just a library of fancy badges.
The location-based social media app is reportedly adding near-field communications (NFC) support to its Android app for devices running 4.0, a.k.a. Ice Cream Sandwich. (It only makes sense to add it to the Android one considering the only smartphones with NFC run on Google's mobile OS at this point.)
At this point, it seems that the NFC functionality will only be put to use to share lists and venues that Foursquare users have visited, streamlining the process for recommendations and making the experience all the more personal.
However, this could have a bigger impact down the line.
Foursquare has already expanded its services by adding menus to restaurant and bar listings. That has elevated Foursquare from a simple check-in service with the occasional discount code to a veritable recommendations and reviews service for finding the best place near you to fit your needs and appetite.
Although it is a bit far-fetched at the moment, the addition of NFC to Foursquare opens up the possibility of being able to search, find, check-in and pay for services all without leaving the app.
Again, this will take a long time to come about and become popular -- if it ever does. Nevertheless, it's an interesting route for Foursquare developers to consider as the location-based social media market gets cluttered.
Given how low-key (or nonexistent) the announcement for this addition has been, Foursquare has already proven to favor other trends in a rather discreet manner. For example, Foursquare recently introduced its mobile browser app based on HTML5 -- rather than going ahead with an optimized app for tablets.