Search Engines Eye Foursquare’s Data

Are the major search engines about to give their badge of approval to Foursquare? CEO Dennis Crowley tells The Telegraph that his company is talking to Google (NSDQ: GOOG), Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) and Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) about some sort of data sharing deal. All three major search engines reached deals last fall to include updates from Twitter in their results — and these talks seem to suggest that Google, Yahoo and Microsoft think Foursquare is growing fast enough that its data already has — or will soon have — value for a broad audience too.

Since March, Microsoft has been including some data from Foursquare, such as where users are checking in and what “badges” they have unlocked, in Bing Maps. That tie-in, however, seems largely targeted at existing Foursquare members and Bing users need to select a “Foursquare map app” to see the data.

By contrast, in his interview with the Telegraph, Crowley talks about anonymizing Foursquare’s data so that search engine users would be able to see general trends about what specific locations people are visiting at a given moment.

A search deal could potentially add a significant revenue stream to Foursquare, considering that Google and Microsoft each reportedly paid in the double-digit millions to include Twitter data in their search results. Foursquare raised $20 million in a new funding round late last month.