Foursquare 3.0 is Here!

It was announced yesterday that Foursquare has finally released it’s 3.0 update. If your a Foursquare junkie like me than this is great news. The service, for those of you who don’t know, allows you to “check-in” at the places you visit throughout the day and show’s you where local deals might be. It’s also a great way to keep tabs on your friends (but not in a stalker way). It’s not only a deal finder, you can also check in to get badges, which are little rewards for visit certain places, or visiting a certain number of places, and duke it out for “mayor ships” of your favorite hot spots. It’s fun.

Anyway, the new update offers many revamps that make it a much more complete and useful app to have.

The first new feature, and perhaps the coolest is the “explore” tab that they’re adding. This will become the bulk of the mobile application as it offers the most content to use. Essentially was it is is a “Yelp” type app that takes where you’ve been and suggests places that you might like in your area. It also allows you to explore the area you’re in for recommended places that are similar with your interests, or just places recommended in general. This is cool because it would make traveling much easier, as well as open you up to places in your area that you might have never heard of. In addition to food it also shows you where there is nightlife, shopping and touristy stuff, so that you can truly explore wherever you are.

Another cool feature, which get’s back to what makes Foursquare an app to have, is that they have greatly expanded their “deals” options for companies. They have added things like Flash Deals (first 10 people after 5 get a free drink), Newbie Deals, Loyalty Deals and many more. This, hopefully, will encourage more companies to offer specials and therefore make Foursquare a great way to save some money as well.

I am psyched about these new features. It takes Foursquare from an almost strictly “fun” app to one that is very functional. So, if you don’t already have it on your phone, get it. It is available for pretty much every platform that exists.

Voting Gives Users a Foursquare Badge

If you use Foursquare and plan to vote this year get ready to receive an “I Voted” Foursquare badge. Foursquare is trying to encourage civic participation this year with the introduction of a Foursquare badge that will be given to users that check in to one of the 107,000 recorded polling places. Any user that checks in and includes the hashtag “#ivoted” will receive the badge.  Not only will users receive a badge but people will be able to visualize voting trends throughout the country. Foursquare has set up a website that includes interactive real-time maps that show check-in numbers and locations, data on the total number of check-ins, and even breakdowns of the gender of those who voted.

Foursquare has teamed up with MTV’s Rock the Vote, Pew Center, Google, and the Voting Information Project to continue the growing trend in the number of voters seen in 2008. Similar to Twitter’s #VoteReport, seen in the 2008 election, Foursquare wants to keep real-time data for all to see. The company is also hoping this years results will help them to develop a similar project for 2012. For more information, visit Foursquare’s election site.

Photo Credit – Mashable

Future of Location Based Apps

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Location-based apps are one of the newest frontiers in Digital Marketing. Google Maps, Foursquare, even Twitter are in on the “check-in” game. On platforms like Foursquare, users can see who is currently checked into a place, leave messages there, and receive incentives for checking in. Twitter and Google allow location broadcasting to approved friends. But where is this technology going? I did some deep digging to find out.

1. Tracking
Tracking on social Web sites is not new. We have all heard cautionary tales about Joe Inappropriate losing his job over an indecent picture his company found on Facebook or Jane Toomuchinformation missing out on a second interview because of too many updates on Twitter about how much she hates her current job. Location based tracking seems to be ahead. ZDnet suggests that insurance companies or assessors may be able to use your check in history to determine risk factors and rates. If you were to check into multiple bars every night for 2 months and you don’t own one, this might be an issue for you. It’s not all bad though, an auto insurer could set up a maintenance check-in program that tracks how often your car’s oil is changed or whether or if you check in to a car seat inspection station.

2. Real-time coupons
Some Web sites, like Foursquare, are already in the infant stages of adopting this technology. As a user checks in, incentives, or coupons, are shown for his or her presence. However, Mobile Commerce Daily has reported that Where, another location-based site has introduced location-based, real-time mobile deal alerts. “[Where’s] deal alerts service pushes mobile coupons and discounts to consumers based on preference and location.” For instance, let’s say I have selected to receive alerts from Ingenex Digital Marketing on Where. 2 weeks later, I walk past Ingenex and my text alert goes off. It reads:

Hey there friend! Ingenex Digital is offering a free cup of coffee when you stop in and say “Hello!”

The text service is free but regular text messaging rates apply, but for most of us, that really shouldn’t be an issue anymore. Business owners could have the ability to schedule daily offer changes and control the amount of time the coupon is active.

3. Tourism
Why not make being a tourist a little bit easier. Gowalla seems to be the predominant player in this so far. Users can create “trips” with check in points. The site features sponsored tours by University of Oklahoma and National Geographic. Not many other players have embraced the tourism possibilities and with Gowalla’s page visits down approximately 45% in the past two months, the possibility of dying in the shadows of Foursquare and Google Latitude grows stronger. Roseindia, a leader in Web tutorials, offers a few points for utilizing location-based tourism. Based on your GPS, a platform that provides traffic information, weather updates, local information, city guides and check-in spots could possibly be available in the near future for tourists with smartphones.

The landscape of local-based applications is wide open for innovation. Tracking, real-time coupons, and tourism are all areas that apps are beginning to target. So, what would you like to see come to fruition?  Any ideas?

deanj