But before you get your panties in a bunch and start flaming Foursquare for intruding on your privacy, hear this out.
Full names have already been available through when you search for a friend on Foursquare. What changes is that full names will now show up on check-ins. However, this doesn't mean you have to use your real name. The change comes about from user feedback that clicking through another user's profile page becomes confusing when you don't see their last name. Just remember, if you don't want your full name on the network, you can update your settings to whatever "full name" you want.
Now, more data for businesses. Businesses were previously only allowed to view the last three hours of check-ins. This was unpractical as many users would check-in toward the latter part of the day. Now, businesses will be able to access more time relevant data as to when users are checking in. But remember, permissions can also be turned off by users that don't want businesses to see their check-in data.
See full press release below:
2012 has been a pretty huge year. We’ve released over fifty new features, welcomed nearly 15,000,000 new people to Foursquare, and had our 3,000,000,000th check-in. It’s a bit clichéd to say this, but your support really is what keeps us going day after day.
We know that privacy policies can be dense, so we put together a high-level document that we think of as our “Privacy 101.” It describes, in an easy-to-read way, how we build privacy into our product. While it doesn't replace the legal need for the complete description of our privacy practices (which you can read here), we hope it helps you better understand how we think about privacy. We’ve also added new explanations of how privacy works throughout the app in our FAQs, including our default privacy settings and how they can be adjusted.
In addition to creating and refining those documents, we want to point out two specific changes to our policy, both of which will go into effect on January 28, 2013.
1. We will now display your full name. Currently, Foursquare sometimes shows your full name and sometimes shows your first name and last initial (“John Smith” vs. “John S.”). For instance, if you search for a friend in Foursquare, we show their full name in the results, but when you click through to their profile page you don’t see their last name. In the original versions of Foursquare, these distinctions made sense. But we get emails every day saying that it's now confusing. So, with this change, full names are going to be public. As always, you can alter your ‘full name’ on Foursquare athttps://foursquare.com/settings.
2. A business on Foursquare will be able to see more of their recent customers. Currently, a business using Foursquare (like your corner coffee shop) can see the customers who have checked in in the last three hours (in addition to the most recent and their most loyal visitors). This is great for helping store owners identify their customers and give them more personal service or offers. But a lot of businesses only have time to log in at the end of the day to look at it. So, with this change, we're going to be showing them more of those recent check-ins, instead of just three hours worth. As always, if you'd prefer not to permit businesses to see when you check into their locations going forward, you can uncheck the box under ‘Location Information’ at https://foursquare.com/settings/privacy.
Have a lovely holiday, and thanks for being part of the nearly 30,000,000-strong Foursquare community. We have a lot planned for 2013!
- Team Foursquare