Microsoft's Bing Maps tool will soon feature tips and comments from location-based networking service Foursquare.
Don't panic: This won't broadcast your location to anyone hunting around on Bing Maps. It will, however, pull up the quick "tips" that Foursquare users can attach to a given business or other venue, like the one I saw when I "checked in" to a restaurant last night and was greeted with "Love, love, love the Brussels sprouts."
Microsoft announced the upgrade Thursday morning in New York at the Search Engine Strategies conference, which also saw the preview of a new Bing user interface.
A Bing blog post offers further explanation: "Let's say you're traveling to New York City for the week, but you don't know what's hot in Greenwich Village. Selecting the Foursquare Map App in Bing Maps, and zooming into to Greenwich Village will get you tips that show you what locals are saying about the hot spots in that area. It's like an interactive day planner, designed to help find the best things to do in that area."
There is also a way to rank tips based on Foursquare user reputation--the users who have unlocked specific "badges," for example, or who check in the most frequently.
The location-based social media market has been hyped for a while but reached a fever pitch earlier this month during the South by Southwest Interactive Festival, where the tech community was eager to figure out which of the half-dozen-or-so start-ups in the space would emerge the favorite. While it's still unclear how far ahead of its close competitors Foursquare is, if at all, search deals like the Bing partnership puts it in competition with the likes of Yelp. Meanwhile, Yelp launched its own Foursquare-like check-ins earlier this year.
Bing already has a "firehose" deal in place with Twitter, a deal that reportedly brought Twitter a decent sum of cash in return. Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley declined to say much about whether any money had changed hands in the Bing deal announced Thursday. "Bing came to use with the idea of creating a real-time map of Foursquare check-ins," he said, "and we were happy to share the data."