Foursquare wants its mobile geolocation-based application to increasingly require less and less manual use and instead work in the background as people move around, automatically pushing notifications, recommendations and reminders to them, the company's CEO said yesterday.

The idea is to reduce the need for people to deliberately call up the Foursquare application on their mobile phone and do manual "check-ins" when, for example, they walk into their favorite restaurant, according to Dennis Crowley.

"We want to lower the barrier," said Crowley, who answered questions on stage from New York Magazine's John Heilemann at Web 2.0 Summit.

Asked about competition from Google, Groupon and Facebook, which have built similar functionality to Foursquare's in various ways, Crowley said that his company's narrow focus on helping people better experience their physical world has allowed it to so far weather rival services.

He said that his plans are to keep Foursquare independent but said that the company's priority is to build the best product it can, whether as an independent player or as part of another company.

Foursquare now has more than 10 million users worldwide who have made more than one billion "check-ins." In addition, more than half a million businesses have signed up for the company's Merchant Platform, which offers a variety of ways for them to promote their products and interact with customers.