Foursquare Goes Global

Foursquare, the addictive and yet slightly creepy location-based status updater/mobile game, has gone global. When it first launched, users were limited to checking in to stores, restaurants and other locations in select North American cities; Foursquare scaled out to 15 European cities last November, and now, there’s no limit to where users can check in from.

At stake are the bragging rights for being the most far-reaching — and ultimately, most-utilized — mobile social location-tagging service, as well as potential local ad revenues from businesses that want to offer coupons and discounts to users. As CNET notes, Rival Gowalla is better-funded and had global capabilities before Foursquare did. Other challengers include Loopt and Brightkite.

The catch is that newer cities and neighborhoods aren’t auto-populated in the Foursquare app, meaning people need to enter a name like “Valley Stream,” or “Playa del Rey,” to check in to a location in lesser-known locales. The company is “soft-launching” the global option, meaning not all users will see it yet.