Forecast: Pre-Check In Your Check In

Foursquare is great to see where everyone is right now, but the app is next to useless when you want to actually meet up with your friends. By the time you get to your friends’ supposed location, it’s a crapshoot on whether they will still be there (unless of course you call/text/email them, but who does that?) This is where Forecast comes in. By connecting with Foursquare, Forecast users can essentially share their predetermined destinations and arrival times with their friends. This is perfect if you know the general time and location of where you are going later in the evening and want to send an informal invite out to your friends to join you.

Interested? Learn more after the jump.

How It Works

Often, the crowd-sourcing capabilities of Foursquare are undermined by the actual time it takes for your friends to get anywhere. In its most basic form, Forecast offers individuals the opportunity to predict and schedule their future check ins. This is exceedingly helpful when you have an unexpected free night and want to see what is happening in your ‘hood by looking at your friends’ pre-determined check ins. On the flip-side, Forecast will use your projected forecast to remind you to check in once you arrive at your destination.

Getting Started

Sign into Forecast using your Foursquare login.

When first launching the app you will need to sign in with your Foursquare login. The app will search through your Foursquare friends to see who is using the Forecast app (unfortunately, I only had seven).

On the main page of the app, Forecast features your recent check in history and your next forecasted locations. The primary icon features an add button, which allows you to easily map out your destinations for the day.

The main page features a quick view of recent check in history. When adding a forecast, a list of your most popular recent check ins will be generated as forecast suggestions.

To add a forecast, tap the add button and a new page will open featuring the top locations that you have checked into on Foursquare during the last few months. This is a great time saver if you are hitting up a local watering hole and just want to cyber “shout” to your friends that you are heading there at a specific time.

If you are visiting a new location, type in the venue name and a list of relevant locations will be generated for you to choose from. Forecast will use GPS to make sure the locations are in your general vicinity in order to narrow down your location list. However, if you need to search a different city, there is an option to change location, which is obviously helpful if you are planning a shindig when you arrive home after the holidays.

Dates and times are easy to change using the scroll bar. You can share your forecast via Twitter and Facebook.

You can easily update forecasted dates and times.

Once you tap on your chosen location, a new page will open listing the name of the location, an option to tap I’m Here Now, a scrolling time/date bar and a tab that shows your chosen time/date for you to tap and confirm in order to share. The time/date tab at the bottom will adjust to whatever time/date you select, letting you easily check to make sure your scroll bar didn’t get roll happy. Once you have confirmed that the time/date is correct, a new page will open allowing you to add a note (140 characters). You can choose to post just in Forecast, share on Facebook and/or on Twitter.

The new forecast will show up on the main Activity page. The Activity page shows all current unfulfilled forecasts from you and your Forecast friends. It also features a handy little Check In tab for easy check in capability.

On the main activity page you can view your friends' check ins. When you tap on these check ins a new page will launch allowing you to comment or add the location as a personal forecast.

You can tap on friend’s predicted check ins to add comments and forecast your synced check in via the Me Too tab. The Me Too tab will pull up the location in a new page and allow you to predict your scheduled arrival.

The other option on the main page of the app is your personal profile card. When you tap your name at the bottom left hand corner of the screen, your personal profile card will pop up in a new tab. This shows all of your forecasts (which you can tap to view the entire history), your Forecast friends, recent check ins and your upcoming Forecasts.

Push Notifications

Forecast will remind you to check in by sending a push notification. It will also use Foursquare's API to show your check in history.

When you schedule a Forecast, a push notification will pop up asking you if you are at the location you had previously predicted at the time you selected (if you haven’t checked in already). When you tap the notification it will open up Forecast, show the listing and allow you to check in. Once you do, the app will pull up a Foursquare page featuring the number of times you have been there, your points, leaderboard, mayorships, etc.

Forecast will also send a push notification when your friends forecast a location, which will launch the app when you tap it.

Conclusion

As Rene Pinnell, the co-founder and chief executive of Forecast, succinctly explained in a recent The New York Times article, “[Forecast is] an opportunity to rally friends around where you will be later.” Essentially, Forecast offers you the ability to passively tell your friends where you are going to be, giving them the opportunity to meet you or not. The design is clean and easy to use. The colors are similar to Foursquare and it is a great companion app; however, it would be nice if the two were merged in the future. It is something that I can see myself using more diligently as more of my friends adopt the app. Overall, I think that it has a lot of potential to be quite useful for crowd-sourcing as more people start to use it.


Summary

A social network that builds off of Foursquare's API in order to forecast check ins.

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