I recently realized that my days spent planning an evening out with friends seem to be fewer and far between. Our ability to stay in constant communication with each other via text, Twitter, Facebook, and more means there's no need to plan ahead. Instead I find myself saying, "Just text me when you get there," and creating our plan on the fly.
The latest addition to the ever-growing lists of constant-contact facilitators is Foursquare, recently profiled by The New York Times. Users of the social networking site can share their current location with friends in real time. The free service is designed for use on the go, and in addition to its web-based presence has BlackBerry and iPhone applications available for download. To read how Foursquare works and to share your thoughts, read more.
The service is based on check-ins: when you arrive at a location (a restaurant, store, bus stop, wherever), you "check in," disclosing your location to friends. Check-ins earn you points; a series of check-ins at certain places (three places with a photo booth or 50 unique venues, for example) earn you coveted merit badges. Add tips and to-do lists with any location, and read other Foursquare users' tips and lists when checking into a new place. This isn't a new concept — Foursquare founders built the idea from Dodgeball, a now-defunct service that used SMS messaging to alert friends of your whereabouts. And services like Latitude and Loopt provide similar location-based services.
Foursquare launched in March and is now available in 35 cities from New York to Vancouver to London.
Do you use Foursquare? Do you think it encourages oversharing, or is it a helpful way to keep tabs on friends?