Adding more location-based functionality to Twitter could enable the social media site to help businesses better engage with customers, which is why the company is reportedly exploring a partnership with Foursquare. Word on the street is that the two companies are considering a collaboration that would bring more geo-based features to tweets.
Citing a source "familiar with the deal," Business Insider reported that the addition of location-based information could help Twitter users discover information not only by timeliness but by relevance to their locations. That could also enable the company to work with advertisers to deliver more location-specific ads to users.
The article also pointed to Twitter's recent hiring of David Blackman, who previously worked on geo-infrastructure at Foursquare. Plus, Twitter is seeking to fill a number of software engineering positions, adding to the speculation that new technical offerings are under development.
Location: A 'Vehicle of Discovery'
While it's probably not the first site people tend to think of when looking for location-based insights, Twitter has long recognized the potential value of geo-focused content. It currently allows mobile users to add location information -- either general or by street coordinates -- to their tweets, although the location function is disabled by default for safety and privacy reasons. Users can also delete all their past location-based tags from tweets through Twitter's security and privacy settings.
Twitter views location-based information as a "vehicle of discovery," according to the source cited in the Business Insider article. The source said a partnership with Foursquare could enable the company to roll out venue-check-in-type functionality for tweets.
On Sunday, the Wall Street Journal's Digits blog reported that Twitter "appears to be testing a new timeline for its mobile app, called 'Nearby.'" The geo-based timeline feature, "has appeared occasionally in recent days on the phone of users who allow Twitter to see and use their location," according to the blog post.
The Journal added that such a feature "would make the network more locally relevant, in the manner of Foursquare. It also would allow Twitter to offer advertisers more precise targeting campaigns."
We reached out to both Twitter and Foursquare for comment. A Twitter spokesperson told us, "We don't comment on rumor and speculation," while Foursquare failed to respond in time for publication.
Launched in 2009, Foursquare is a mobile app that allows users to share information and search for friends, businesses and other attractions according to location. The company has said it currently has more than 55 million users worldwide, as well as 1.9 million businesses that use the service to connect with customers.