I don’t really want to know where all my friend’s are every moment. But sometime, say a Friday night at 10:30… it’d be pretty nice to locate my friend base.
Foursquare (Check in. Find your friends. Unlock your city.) Gowalla (Go Out. Go Discover. Go Share.) Loopt (Discover the world around you.) and Yelp (Real people. Real reviews) are some of the location based check-in services that use GPS mobile devices to help consumer “find” the friends, places, and bar specials they desire.
Leading the foray is Foursquare which incorporates gaming tactics that involve users more than the other sites. For example, you can win badges. Foursquare actually introduced 16 new South by Southwest badges just for the crowds that showed up in Austin. One being a Tarantino badge, check-in for sitings of the famous director Quentin Tarantino, a known fan of Austin.
Foursquare can connect with your Twitter and Facebook networks, and has user comments, or reviews, so it becomes not so much where to go… but what to do when you get there. It allows people to unlock the neighborhoods they frequent, and discover places they might not have thought to enter.
They idea itself could seem scary to some, but the rapid evolution of these sites is not something to discard.
But the key – everyone must have the ability to opt-IN. NOT OUT. The moment a consumer begins to feel their information is being used without their consent this idea of playing with “where” can turn to playing with “who” and no big business wants the fingers pointing at them.