Friday, 9 October 2009

Location, Location, Location: Foursquare knocks Twitter into a location playing field

It’s official. Foursquare, the app taking over the US (and rather bizarrely Amsterdam) has come to the UK too... well to London.

For those without their ears to the digital grindstone: Foursquare is an application which combines microblogging (like our beloved Twitter,) with location based “check-ins” and gaming.

Still confused? I was.

Once on Foursquare you essentially sign-up and search for your friends – if you’ve got Twitter it will automatically search through your friends and try to locate them in “real time.” Then you can “check-in” by telling your friends where you are – be it in a bar, museum, restaurant... you get the picture.

Then comes the clever bit: every check-in earns you points, which then earns you badges. The more you talk, the more features from the app are unlocked, meaning the competitive amongst us are enticed ever onwards. Once you’re on top of that, you can take things a step further by making “urban mix-tapes” with playlists of the top 12 things to do, or not to do. As such what you have in your hand is basically a city guide, loyalty card and ,of course, social network.

Think of the possibilities...

Leaving work late? You can make it to the pub to meet your friends without making a text - if they’re good friends they could even get you a drink in too.

First date and want to impress? Get recommendations from lotharios based anywhere from Angel to Balham, Brick Lane to the Kings Road.

This is an event planners dream. Imagine the clusters rating it in the weekend’s top 12 or seeing all those people highlighted in one location? What’s more, people can review your restaurant/shop/bar... and make recommendations on the spot.

Huge in New York and now in Twitter’s biggest hot spot, good ole’ London Town, I’m sure it will go down a storm with the trend spotters and key influencers in the tech world. As Revolution mag recently said:“Either it will be a smash hit or it will fail miserably.”

If it does prove to be a hit, the leisure industry could have a field day with discounts, brand influencers and Foursquare only events.

As for your average Jo, it looks like there are some key privacy issues to overcome first. With confirmation friend emails coming from the person’s personal email - not a generic “foursquare address,” and with complicated privacy settings, data protection looks pretty weak.

So what now... for British support you need to keep expanding, and where better to go next that Birmingham?

Britain’s second city may not have (quite) as big a following on Twitter, but we’re not far behind. And we can give you a run for your money on all those lattes, espresso martinis and fancy bars. Not to mention shopping, museums, art galleries and events.

So what’s it to be Foursquare? Expand or fade? We challenge you...

Bring it to the Brummies!


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