Foursquare guns for Yelp, one feature at a time

Foursquare has launched a new feature that allows users to create distinct lists of the places they’ve checked into or plan to visit in the future. This new functionality brings the New York City-based Foursquare more into the realm of user-generated recommendations long-dominated by review sites such as Yelp.

Previously, Foursquare allowed users to create “tips,” or recommendations of certain places, but they would all be together in one unsorted list. The new feature allows you to create specific groupings of places like the top 10 happy hour spots in your neighborhood, or the five best baseball stadiums you’ve ever been to. Lists can also track the places you want to go in the future, such as a list of 10 places you plan to see on your upcoming trip to Tokyo.

The new feature also has social capabilities such as the ability to create group-edited lists. Lists can also be shared with people who aren’t on Foursquare through email, Facebook or Twitter.

Foursquare’s lists feature is similar to Yelp’s lists, which allows users to collate reviews of places they’ve been or services they’ve experienced. But it bears mentioning that the imitation goes both ways: Last year, Yelp launched the ability to check-in to places using the site, essentially copying Foursquare’s signature check-in feature. Then Foursquare announced a partnership with restaurant review stalwart Zagat to allow its users to view in-depth reviews and recommendations. Though Foursquare and Yelp both started out in two very different realms — location-based check-ins and user reviews, respectively — the two companies are closing in on very similar turf with each new feature upgrade.

The new feature was launched Monday with public lists created by a number of Foursquare’s partners, which are brands including People Magazine (s twx), Lucky Magazine and Zagat. Here is a screenshot of a new Foursquare list by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck (click to enlarge):