Just a couple of weeks after it got its palindromic 5.3.5 update, Foursquare has now received its major 5.4 update.

Foursquare 5.4 brings a number of changes to the app’s interface. These changes may not appear significant at first blush, but they actually are substantial in making the app more usable in the long run.

Since the app got updated to version 5.0 last June, Foursquare has become as much an app for exploration as it is for checking in. And the app’s latest update happens to have something for both sides of Foursquare.

For the exploration side of Foursquare, the update enables you to see the most important stuff straightaway when you tap on a place you’re interested in checking in to.

After tapping through, you get to easily see the place’s rating, address, operating hours, menu, and phone number.

You also get to admire the new swipeable carousel view of photos at the top to help you get a sense of the place’s popular offerings. The new photo carousel remains part of the screen even once you’re checked in.

Foursquare

And now for the check-in side of Foursquare, you get to see things like popular tips and who else is there at the place.

Also, every time you check in, Foursquare tells you something interesting:

People love points, great tips, and other nuggets of information. So we’ve simplified the experience after you check in to just show you one important takeaway. ‘Seven weeks in a row going to the gym,’ ‘a great off-the-menu burger you have to order,’ or ‘your 20th time hanging out with your friend Charles.’ Foursquare will show you the most interesting highlight from your visit.

Designed for iPhone and iPod touch but also compatible with iPad, Foursquare is available in the App Store for free.

Update after update, Foursquare continues to improve as a location-based social networking service. No wonder Apple is reportedly looking to integrate Foursquare’s local data into its Maps app.