One question that anyone using a check-in app has is “What are they doing with this data?” For as long as we’ve been busy checking in and sharing who we’re with, people have been thinking about how this data could be leveraged for something more useful than a virtual badge or title.
Gowalla attempts to answer this question. Previously an app that focused on the check-in, Gowalla is now using this information to generate travel guides for hot places all across the world. In this grand pivot, has Gowalla become something profoundly useful or lost some users?
I’ve never been a huge Gowalla user, none of my friends use it (they’re more into Facebook Check-in) and it hasn’t really caught on in my city. Nonetheless, I like the idea of apps like Gowalla and FourSquare, which allow you to assert your fondness for locations and businesses simply by pressing a button. Though I’m not compelled to use Gowalla socially, I sometimes check for nearby spots when I’m in an unfamiliar neighbourhood, only to find a list of churches, bus stops and chain restaurants. The developers of Goodfoot attempt to harness the power of Gowalla and make it more useful to all types of iPhone users, even those that aren’t social network superstars.
Goodfoot lists local Spots in order of their “awesomeness”, a metric they’ve developed which ranks based on how often spots are re-visited by locals, and claims to be able to filter through the uninteresting spots that fill the Gowalla nearby list and show you where the locals actually hang out. So, is it successful? Can an algorithm separate the local hotspots from the tourist traps? Find out after the jump!
The geniuses behind Foursquare had a simple but brilliant idea: a location-based social network. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could send a quick shout to all your friends telling them where you are? However, this wasn’t enough. The real innovation that made their idea work was that they realized there would need to be some incentive to come back and use the app. A goal system with prizes was born and the rest is history. Foursquare now works across several mobile platforms and boasts millions of daily users.
Foursquare began in 2009 and triggered the social check-in revolution that is still very much in its infancy. Today we’re going to look at what developments have been made in this area in addition to a few notable newcomers that you might want to check out.