It is hard to build a brand. Really hard, especially in this day and age when anyone with a laptop and an internet connection can start a business.
Foursquare has managed to build an incredibly beloved brand. A brand so loved that the thing people initially loved it for is almost inseparable from the brand itself; check ins. Despite the many amazing innovation coming out of Foursquare as of late, the word on the street is still, "Foursquare is the check in app, right?"
As a lover of long term vision, I salute Foursquare, as I think their current move towards local search and data driven local content was always the plan, yet I don't see the new behaviors they are promoting coming to fruition. Maybe these new search and discover functions are beings used and I am just not seeing it, but the fact is, even check ins barely infiltrated the main stream.
So what is the future of Foursquare?
Perhaps they have acquired enough data to power other businesses and in turn, get data back from these businesses, building an "ingredient brand strategy" (kind of like Intel, where the brand is less about selling directly to the consumer and more about building love and trust).
Who knows. It does pain me to admit that, I simply don't foresee the mainstream associating Foursquare with search and discovery in the same manner as Yelp or Google. I sure hope they find a way to figure this out.