The Social-Media Company Apple Loves Right Now (Hint: It's Not Facebook)

Can maps bring us together? In the case of location-specific social app Foursquare and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) , a common interest in weaning off Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) maps technology has the two companies cuddling closer than before.

Foursquare is the bigger beneficiary. Apple is featuring the newest version of its app -- which was released Thursday -- as an "Editor's Choice" at the App Store home page on iTunes:

Source: Apple iTunes Store.Interestingly, reaction hasn't been great so far. Too many longtime users of the Foursquare service believe it's a copycat refresh made to look more like Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) or Yelp (NYSE: YELP) than an enhanced version of the original app, which at one time threated to become the next Twitter.

"The new Foursquare is just a grab for cash," wrote reviewer JT92101, who claims to also be an app author. "Just more unwanted commercial messages in my face, trying to push me into trying this restaurant or that dry cleaner. I realize that Foursquare has to figure out a way to make money -- but this isn't it."


Is the app really that bad? I don't think so. Sure, there are recommendations, but most of what I see under the app's "explore" button refers to places either my friends or I have recommended. I'm also perfectly happy to be made aware of check-in rebates made possible through Foursquare's budding relationship with American Express (NYSE: AXP  ) .

Apple could make the tie-in even more fruitful by transforming iTunes into a mobile-payments system. Check in and pay -- on the spot -- with Foursquare and let iTunes handle the handshake with AmEx. That the app is already an "Editor's Choice" suggests this may be more than just wishful thinking on my part.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Apple and Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's Web home, portfolio holdings, and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Google+ or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook, Apple, and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google and Apple, creating a write covered strangle position in American Express, and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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