Posts tagged #Checkin

Kicking The Tires: Proximity Check-In Apps That Are Not Foursquare

 Brightkite: is a location-based social networking website that is available on any mobile device. Users "check in" at places by using text messaging or one of the mobile applications and they can see who is nearby and who has been there before. The service was created in 2007 by Brady Becker, Martin May and Alan Seideman who previously founded the SMS notification service Loopnote.

Pro's: Nice interface and it good social features. Group text is intriguing.

Con's: Less 'game play' then I've come to expect. Feels like it needs a lot more to stay competitive.


Friends Around: Friends Around is a mobile app for interacting with friends 24/7 across social networks without being tied to a computer. It’s a free iPhone app developed by Zila Networks LLC, a Miami based start-up.

Pro's: A lot of rating based feedback from uploaded photos.

Con's: Cumbersome to add new people and just not that much fun yet. I relies that the mapping function [should] be cool but it's too early for engagement. This app too needs to get more feature rich to compete I'm affraid.

Side Note: I did see a lot of late teen - early twenties male demo on this at an NFL game I checked into this weekend. I'm not sure what, if anything that means.


Waze: Waze is a social mobile application providing free turn-by-turn navigation based on the live conditions of the road.
100% powered by users, the more you drive, the better it gets.

Pro's: This is a turn-by-turn GPS application yes, it's also a bit of social gaming. What I LIKE about Waze is it combines the intelligence of Trapster and adds a dash of game play. You unlock points and seniority by the amount of mileage you drive while using it, that's a bit of a pro and con to me.

Con's: There's a lot going on. They could invest in some UI testinging as well. Also, rule number one with wayfinding, name it what everyone else names it. Don't call "Directions" "Drive To" call it directions and everyone (mainly me) will be happy.


Whrrl: Whrrl 3.0 is a social location-based game to get people out into the world trying new things. Users become members of "Whrrl Societies" based on their real-world passions. As of August 2010, there were more than 3,000 Whrrl Societies. Whrrlers earn "influence points" as they try new things themselves and successfully inspire others to try things, and they share ("prove") their adventures by sharing photos and text with friends and other Society members.

Pro's: First, the app looks and responds beautifully. Elegant animations and transition screens abound. It's powered by which proves to offer a lot of initial data respectively. The app's a bit advanced to a user unaccustomed to a check-in environments.  As you're checking in, it's making you a founder to established locations and creator of societies of influence. Very cool, but a bit heady given that you're new to proximity based (location based) applications.

Con's: A lot to take on if it's your first but I don't have any outstanding fails – yet.

Facebook Places - Miles To Go Before I Checkin

I have to tell you that I thought this technology (Facebook Places) was going to crush the "checkin" landscape. No I think it's a big pain in the ass. There's a ton of 'cover your ass' screens I felt like I was going to get porn at the end. I understand that the process will streamline itself and that Facebook at least didn't put a bullet in their eye by doing a private roll-out *COUGH-COUGH!* Google Wave *COUGH-COUGH!* So with that said let's just wait and see. But a few things to note on the screen process below:

  1. The oh-so-helpful error screen to start
  2. Followed by the fact that it can't find my office that I check into every day
  3. "Ask Them First" -- Really. LOL.
  4. "Learn More" on the fourth screen – intuitive fail
  5. And the reward is it gets posted to my Facebook – wait, didn't Foursquare already do this?

Look, I'm not player hating, just pointing out some pot-holes that I'm sure will be smooth out in time. There's a lot of thinking right now and sadly you can't make people think in the usability world.

Addendum: This also goes to great lengths to tell me how important the 'game play' aspect of FourSquare and Gowalla is. The anticipation of points and badges, beyond simply telling the world where you are is a key factor for Facebook Places to become a success. There's simply too much "checkin fatigue" here to make this a viable part of my social graph.

"Facebook Places" – It's Not Your Big Brother – IT IS BIG BROTHER

Tonight Facebook released "Facebook Places" there shoe-horn into the location (proximity) based landscape. This should come as no surprise as Foursquare, GoWalla, Yelp and others have been clawing each others eyes out to make hay while the sun shines. Well the suns officially eclipsed by the 500-million pound gorilla called "Facebook."

I don't have a defined opinion pro or con on the service but to say that Facebook clearly sees that this is a defined part of digital social communication and therefore we should all be paying attention. And while many of us have been singing the praises of location based marketing long before now this will assuredly make your physical location a major kernel in the fabric within your social graph. But without a doubt Facebook already has profiled me better than the FBI could (if they're not already collecting all our data from Facebook); having this next level of granularity is about as close as you'll come to 'being me' short of mounting a camera on my forehead. That's in next years roll-out I'm sure.

Below you will find all the elements I could aggregate tonight from various news sites and first hand accounts of the release.

Facebook Places is a checkin service that’s quite similar to Foursquare or Gowalla on the surface — it allows you to checkin to places. What differentiates it is its tagging features, which allow you to tag friends that are with you at a location. There is also a focus on Facebook Place Pages, which house the checkin history of a given place on the web.

Facebook says it is adding Places merely to enrich the social experience it already provides. The company says its users already post status messages that say things like: “at Starbucks in Harvard Square with Susan and Jeff.” Now, they can tap a new Places icon in the Facebook app on their iPhones and do this more easily, complete with a map. “We’re just building a new way for people to share that information in an engaging way,” says one Facebook official.

• Initially, the service will only be available as an iPhone app or through a special web site - which the company says works really nice on Android and other smartphones.

• You can “tag” friends that are with you at a specific location. Thus, everybody doesn’t have to check-in on their own.

• Facebook is partnering with Foursquare and Gowalla, two already-popular location-based social networks that also allow users to "check in."

• Places lets you see your friends and other Facebook members (even if they’re not your friends), who are nearby, a feature called “People Here Now.”

• You also have the choice to turn off the ability for friends to check you in at Places. Go to your Privacy Settings and turn off the setting to "Let Friends Check Me In."

• Facebook included tagging and the ability to check friends in as well, with strict privacy controls. Users can opt out if they wish, both from tagging and checking in.

• Integration is simple: every time you check-in, you can share it with your Facebook friends, Twitter, or just to your Yelp friends. It publishes a photo of the business as well as some info about it on your wall.

• Facebook appears to be asking users to opt-in as opposed to forcing them to opt out, which is what spurred controversy with the instant personalization feature.

• I-Phone only with Android and other platforms to roll out ASAP.

• Fourquare also has turned off some potential users with a big overlay of game-like features, like earning points and badges for visiting places, and even the ability to become the “mayor” of, say, a bar you frequent.

• You may want to share your check-in information with third-party applications that build interesting experiences around location, such as travel planning. Applications you use must receive your permission before getting this information.