March 3, 2010

Foursquare – Merging Geo with Social

Foursquare is an application that tracks your treks around the city and blasts your latest location out to friends. Like a social networking site, the application lets you connect with friends and see what they’ve been up to. However, what makes Foursquare different is its location-based concept, focusing more on where you’ve been than who you know, and doling out prizes to the users who check in at popular spots the most often.

To get started on Foursquare, you need to find some friends. The application makes it easy, by going through your Gmail, Facebook, and Twitter contacts and pulling out Foursquare users it thinks you might know. Once you’ve got some Foursquare friends, you can start clicking on profiles and seeing the most recent places your contacts have been. To “check in” at a location yourself, simply open up the mobile application and sort through the automatically generated list of nearby venues. Foursquare uses your device’s GPS to determine where you’re at, so there’s no need to type in any confusing addresses. Once you’ve spotted the name of the bar, restaurant, or venue where you’re located, just click once to virtually check in.

You can send your latest location to your Facebook or Twitter account, or keep it local (and more private) by simply alerting your Foursquare contacts. Once you’ve been to a particular venue more than any other user, you’ll win the prize of becoming “the mayor,” and have your profile show up to anyone else who checks in at that spot. Over time, you can also win “badges” for checking in at various spots and add “tips” or suggestions for what to do at the venues you frequent most. If you enjoy social networking, then Foursquare is a fast-growing application that you should definitely check out.

Practical Uses:

  • Find out if any of your friends are hanging out nearby
  • Connect with friends and make new ones
  • Share details of where you’re at during a fun night out
  • Win virtual prizes for being the person who visits a certain venue the most
  • Prove to your boss that you spend the most time at work by becoming the “mayor” off your office

Insider Tips:

  • Click on your friends’ profiles to see what badges they have gotten
  • Adjust settings to “ping” you whenever a friend checks in somewhere new
  • Track the tasks you want to complete
  • Check out your habits by viewing your “check in” stats on the Foursquare site

What we liked:

  • Foursquare is easy to sign up for and available on many mobile devices
  • Checking in at locations is easy
  • The application works worldwide
  • GPS finder eliminates the need to manually input your address or location

What we didn’t like:

  • Users run the risk of sharing too much information by giving people their exact location
  • Publishing location announcements to external services like Twitter and Facebook is the default action-which can frustrate your friends when their streams get polluted


Company Info:

  • Launched: March 2009
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: New York, New York
  • Founded by: Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai
  • Web site:


  • Free

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