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Foursquare Launches Photos, Comments (PICTURES)

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Checking-in just became visual.

Foursquare, the location-based social network, announced today the addition of photos and comments to its mobile experience. The features will go live for iPhone users today, for Android users later this week, and for BlackBerry devices in January, said Alex Rainert, Foursquare's head of product.

Foursquare passed five million users this month, and perhaps more significantly, now registers two million check-ins and 25,000 new users each day. With the addition of photos, Foursquare would seem to be fortifying its position as a mainstream social network, while also expanding its integration with Facebook, Twitter and third-party apps.

"The more people can share about what they're doing, the better," Rainert said. "The more context that people can add to what they're doing -- it makes for just a general, richer experience."

It also makes for a more involved interaction with Foursquare. Instead of casually announcing oneself, users will now become social diarists -- piecing together shared events in a sort of 'digital scrapbook,' as Foursquare is referring to its user history pages.

Foursquare's website, currently the heavy baggage to its wieldy mobile platform, could become more central to the user experience.

Privacy controls have also been elaborated in the new feature. Photos tagged to user check-ins will be only visible to friends, while those associated with tips and venues will be public to all.

"If the user checks in, they're making the decision. We don't want to empower users to check in other users," Rainert said, in distinction to Facebook, which allow users to tag friends on its Places platform.

Comments will function differently from Tips, which Rainert said "are a little more evergreen," in that they will cater to conversation between friends rather than community-built city guides.

Integration with third-party services like Instagram, FoodSpotting and PicPlz are launching today, Rainert confirmed.

Gowalla, a Foursquare competitor, released photos and comments in March of this year.

Check out photos of the new features below:

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