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Summary:

In one of the first marriages of news content and location-based services, the Canadian arm of the free paper Metro International has announced a content deal with Foursquare, the popular mobile location-based service, that will give users the ability to see local news and reviews.

Foursquare has inked a partnership with the Canadian version of Metro, the free newspaper that gets distributed on subway trains and other locations in various cities, that will give its users the ability to see local news and reviews related to a specific location they are “checking in” at using the service’s iPhone or BlackBerry app. Metro International, a Swedish company that publishes free papers in more than 100 cities around the world, says this is the first time the location-based startup has partnered with a news organization in any country.

In Canada, the paper is in Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver and claims circulation of some 800,000. So if a Foursquare user is near a restaurant in one of those cities for which Metro has a review, that will be displayed as a choice for the user. Although the Metro release doesn’t say whether other forms of news will be available as well, the potential is there for Metro reports on fires, break-ins, celebrity sightings or other news to be provided to users of Foursquare based on their location as well.

A similar functionality comes via Twitter, which started rolling out local “trending topics” to some of its users last week, as described by Lisa Barone in a blog post and confirmed by Twitter staffer Alex McCauley in (of course) a tweet. Local trending topics could also provide some form of real-time “crowdsourced” news based on location — although, like any “user-generated content,” it will undoubtedly provide real-time noise and confusion as well.

Mark Briggs at Lost Remote makes a good point that in the long term, location-based news would be better accomplished by way of an open API and open data-sharing rather than proprietary relationships between news services and app vendors. But at least in the short term a deal like that of Foursquare/Metro could provide some interesting evidence as to what’s possible when you blend location and news (or marketing) content.

Post image and thumbnail courtesy of Flickr user Hawaii.

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