For those that need a little kick in their evenings, or feel that they haven’t explored their city enough, there’s Naveen Selvadurai’s new iPhone app, foursquare. It’s probably not named after the childhood playground game, but it tries to be a friend finder, a social city-guide, and a nightlife game. Trying new things is the name of the game.
Once you’ve set up a new account and entered your city, the iPhone app will show you a list of places around your area (be sure to allow the app to use your location if you want to really narrow things down). You can Check-In at those places once you arrive, which will notify all your friends who also have foursquare.
Checking-in also earns you badges, such as the Newbie badge (for your first Check-in) or the Crunked badge (for more than three Check-In’s a night)–the names of these badges are nothing if not awesomely creative. New badges are added all the time, and suggestions are welcome. If the place you’re at isn’t on the list, you can add it by manually inputting it. If you Check-In at a place more than any one else within the last 60 days, you’re automatically The Mayor of that place…until someone dethrones you, anyway (you also need to have a profile picture in place to become Mayor). Check-In’s also give you points, which put you on a Leaderboard, so the more places you visit or the more things you do, the higher your score. You’re totally on an honor system here, until they decide to deduct your points for being untruthful.
foursquare is a nice change from purely virtual networking–it encourages you to actually get out of your house. Unfortunately, the iPhone app is very new and thus still very much in the works. It’s limited to 20-something cities in North America and Europe, and the point rules could change at any time. If you want to use it to keep up with your friends, all your pals will have to have a smartphone and be willing to Check-In, or have a texting plan and be willing to Check-In. And really, how many times are you going to visit a Wondries Toyota? But, this app is free, and with a lot of user input, could become something great, so give it a go and see where you end up.
: foursquare now supports photos. When you are about to checkin to a location, tap the photo icon to either take a photo on your iPhone or use an existing picture. This is going to be a powerful feature, that will help foursquare compete with other apps like Yelp, Instagram and Path, and Facebook. It will help you see dishes in advance, see what a restaurant or bar actually looks like, and send out photos of yourself or your favorite locations. Also newly added you can also now view your history page at foursquare.com to see a list of all the places you’ve been to, including your comments and all the photos you’ve uploaded.
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