Google is reportedly testing out a new feature in Google Now, that display ratings and reviews of nearby restaurants and cafes, even without an app installed for it.
Venture Beat first reported the feature popping up on Android smartphones in the San Francisco area, but it’s not active for all users. The Google Now cards are appearing courtesy of Foursquare, even is the smartphone doesn’t have the app installed.
While this might be indicative of a partnership between Google and Foursquare, their past interactions have been less than pleasant. Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley sold his startup Dodgeball to Google in 2005, and the search giant promptly shut it down in 2009. Foursquare then shifted from Google Maps to OpenStreetMaps, in 2012, for navigation. While they’ve since returned to Google Maps on Android, it still uses Apple Maps to navigate when on iOS. Google also indirectly competes with Foursquare, as it owns a similar restaurant-rating app Zagat.
But Foursquare isn’t just about reviews these days, it’s also selling the massive amounts of data it’s collected over the years to major corporations like Twitter and Microsoft, so Google tying up for something similar isn’t that out of place. Still it would be the first time that Google is prioritising cards from one app over others, despite the user never having shown that preference.