The original location-based app that had people talking about where they were long before Facebook got involved.
It’s a good idea, Foursquare. Share your location with all your friends so they know where you are, and whether you are having more fun than them. Get points for the places that you ‘check in’ to, and receive rewards. You might get a text-based pat on the back for visiting your first museum, for example, or become ‘mayor’ if you’re there more than anyone else. Or a more tangible, financial reward – some venues have freebies or money-off deals for checking in on Foursquare. Unfortunately, this is a concept that has been received with more enthusiasm in the USA than it has here – the availability of Foursquare deals here is limited, especially outside of London. And, as time goes by, it seems that more businesses are interested in a ‘like’ on Facebook, than a ‘check-in’ on Foursquare.
Nevertheless, the app itself is nicely put together and easy to use. On boot-up you see your last check-in and the recent ones of your group of friends. You can add friends manually or Foursquare will search your contacts or Twitter friends and report which are Foursquare users. No option to merge with your Facebook friends, but that is hardly surprising given that Big Blue is their strongest competitor.
You can search for particular venues around your current location, though it will only return venues that already have a Foursquare listing; fine if you’re in central London, but potentially exclusive elsewhere. Users can write tips or reviews about a particular location, which vary wildly in usefulness. ‘Don’t go here’ is a handy warning about a restaurant, but some kind of justification would have been good. And, of course, there’s no proof that it wasn’t written by the restaurant next door!
This location-sharing app is easy to use and fun, but with Facebook offering a lot of the same functionality, its days seem numbered.